This week is Work Zone Awareness Week, and VDOT is urging drivers of the importance of road safety.
“Your safety is paramount, not only to people in our work zones but also to yourself,” said Jen Ward, VDOT spokesperson.
VDOT reports four out of five people who die in work zones are drivers and passengers, not highway workers.
“There’s people using that as their office, so to speak,” said Ward.
“As their office, they want to feel safe while they’re doing their work. Most importantly, not only could you injure them, they could injure themselves as the driver.”
In 2018, there were more than 2,500 work related crashes that resulted in 1,256 work zone injuries and nine fatalities.
Statewide, Ward says they’ve seen a five percent decrease in work zone related crashes, but a four percent increase locally. Most of it due to distracted drivers.
“I would say the majority of time the impact is that people are doing other things,” said Ward.
“They come up on the work zone or the orange barrels come up on them and they feel like they’re fast because they’re doing other things and by that time sometimes it’s too late.”
Some easy ways to avoid distracted driving include putting down your cell phone and slowing down in work zones.
Work Zone Awareness Week is observed the week of April 8-12.