For ADOT, National Work Zone Awareness Week, April 20-24, is always a big deal. It means more this year.
Last month, one of our own, Frank Dorizio, was struck and killed in a work zone on Interstate 10 south of Phoenix. A member of ADOT’s Incident Response Unit, Dorizio was setting up traffic control for a pavement project.
“Every day in Arizona, hundreds of men and women step into work zones on our highways, their place of work for the day, to build, maintain and improve our roadways,” ADOT Director John Halikowski said. “Like everyone, they deserve a safe work environment, and National Work Zone Awareness Week gives us the opportunity to remind drivers that they must make safe decisions when approaching and driving in a work zone. Because if they don’t, people can die.”
While ADOT mourns Dorizio, the first ADOT worker since 1998 to be struck and killed while working along a highway, too many crashes are occurring in work zones across Arizona. From 2017 to 2019, 3,540 collisions in work zones resulted in 49 fatalities on Arizona roadways.
These are preventable crashes and, in most incidents, those killed are vehicle occupants. According to national statistics, annually, more than 80% of those killed in crashes that occurred in work zones were vehicle drivers or passengers.
Making smarter decisions when approaching and driving in work zones will not only keep road workers and vehicle occupants safer, it will keep roads open and in peak condition. That’s incredibly important in the current public health situation. ADOT crews continue working to keep roadways open for all who use the state highway system, including commercial trucks carrying needed supplies to our homes, stores and hospitals.
Drivers can make work zones safer by following these tips:
- Pay attention: Observe and obey posted warning signs, as well as flaggers. You can be cited for disobeying a flagger’s directions.
- Drive alert: Speed limits might be lowered, travel lanes could be narrowed or eliminated and people may be working near your travel lane.
- Slow down: Speeding is one of the leading causes of work zone crashes.
- Merge safely: Do it carefully and as directed by signage.
- Don’t tailgate: The most common crash in a work zone is the rear-end collision. Don’t follow too closely.
For more information about work zone safety, please visit FocusOnDriving.com.