Governor Carney and DelDOT Mark National Work Zone Safety Week

During an event held at the Delaware Turf Sports Complex in Frederica, in observance of National Work Zone Awareness Week, Governor Carney and Transportation Secretary Jennifer Cohan and others educated attendees on the importance of observing extra caution while traveling through work zones. National Work Zone Awareness Week is held the second week of April each year at the traditional start of construction season, when the number of workers on our nation’s roadways increases. The theme of this year’s Delaware awareness campaign is “Work Zone Safety is for Everyone.” This year we raise awareness by featuring DelDOT workers who put their lives on the line daily as they work within active traffic maintaining Delaware roads. They were joined by their family members reminding drivers that like them, they have families and loved ones to return home to.

Proclaiming the month of April in Delaware to be National Work Zone Safety Awareness Month, Governor Carney encouraged all citizens to be aware of the importance of safe driving habits within highway work zones. “Whether filling potholes or building entirely new roadways, men and women work alongside traffic every day to improve our state,” said Governor John Carney. “As Delaware continues to invest nearly $4 billion in infrastructure over the next six years, we need everyone to slow down and pay careful attention to keep work zones safe.”

“The presence of work zones might create temporary hassles, but they are vital to the safety and efficiency of travel through our state,” said DelDOT Secretary Jennifer Cohan. “A work zone is moms and dads and sons and daughters at work. We love them as our fellow Delawareans, and we must do everything within our power, as drivers who pass them every day, to protect them and to ensure that they make it home to see their loved one each day.”

Although highway workers are often among the victims of such crashes, it’s important for drivers to understand that four out of five victims of work zone crashes are actually drivers or their passengers. Generally, crashes occur when drivers speed through a work zone or do not pay attention to the changing road conditions and run into other vehicles, highway equipment or safety barriers, or drive off the roadway completely. In a typical five-day work week, an average of seven motorists and one worker are killed nationwide. The primary causes of work zone crashes are following too closely and inattentive driving.

“The Delaware State Police and the Delaware Department of Transportation are partners working together to ensure safer work zones for both workers and the traveling public,” Sergeant Richard Bratz, Delaware State Police, Director of the Public Information Office informed the gathering. “Everyone should know that speeding through work zones is not tolerated in Delaware. Every time you enter a work zone as a motorist, you are entering a Higher Fine Zone. Any traffic violations within this zone are subject to fines that are doubled in cost. We want to make sure that the traveling public and workers make it home to their families each and every day. We ask that each person drive with greatest amount of care and attention to keep work crews safe while doing their jobs. The Delaware State Police recognizes National Work Zone Safety Awareness Week in Delaware and is very proud to be a part of this annual event.”

“Like most roadway tragedies, work zone crashes are preventable,” says Cathy Rossi, Vice President of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “With extra precaution, and forethought during construction season, we can travel safely, helping the men and women who work on our road crews return safely to their families every day.”

The National Work Zone Awareness Week began in 1999, when the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATSSA), and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) signed a Memorandum of Agreement pledging to increase public awareness of work zone safety issues through a national media campaign. Since then, awareness has continued to grow, with state agencies and other organizations sponsoring high-visibility education and outreach initiatives.

Some simple tips for improving work zone safety include:

*          When you see the “orange and black,” be extra cautious.

*          Warning signs will let you know what to expect.

*          Barrels or cones will delineate your path of travel.

*          Flag persons will help direct you along the way.

*          Avoid distractions.

*          Don’t tailgate.

*          Don’t change lanes.

*          Slow down and expect the unexpected.

For complete Delaware work zone statistics check out the Delaware Strategic Highway Safety Plan.

The United States Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration has developed a Work Zone Safety webpage highlighting the statistics for the frequency and severity work zone crashes.

For traffic information, visit; Follow DelDOT on social media at or or download the free DelDOT App, and listen to WTMC 1380 AM.