PROVIDENCE — As part of National Work Zone Awareness Week, the Rhode Island Police Chiefs’ Association would like to remind residents of necessary precautions to take while driving through a work zone.
April 11-15 is National Work Zone Awareness Week, an initiative that is held annually to encourage caution and acknowledge the potential dangers that noncommercial drivers face while driving through a work zone. The week also promotes safety precautions drivers can take to ensure those working on and along roadways, including construction and work crews, first responders and emergency service personnel, remain safe amidst oncoming traffic.
Motorists, bikers, pedestrians and work crews alike are all subject to injury from collision due to inattentive driving. The number of fatalities occurring at work sites continues to increase each year. In 2020, 857 people were killed in 774 fatal work zone crashes, according to the most recent data available from workzonesafety.org.
Passenger vehicles should always stay alert and drive defensively, and drivers of smaller vehicles should remember they are at a higher risk of serious injury in the event of a collision with a truck or bus. Large automobiles have limited maneuverability and small cars face the danger of being hidden in a blind spot and out of view.
Large trucks with a gross vehicle weight of over 10,000 pounds are classified as Commercial Motor Vehicles (CMVs). National Work Zone Awareness Week also promotes proper training to commercial drivers to ensure safety for everyone on the highway.
Drivers should also avoid distracted driving, including texting while driving, to avoid a collision.
The Rhode Island Police Chiefs’ Association urges residents to consider the following tips while passing through a work zone in an effort to decrease the rising number of annual roadway fatalities.
- Research your route
- Pay attention to your surroundings
- Slow down
- Keep your distance
- Always wear a seatbelt
- Obey traffic laws and road signs
- Move over for stopped emergency vehicles as much as possible.
For more information on National Work Zone Awareness Week, visit nwzaw.org.