Wyoming Department of Transportation officials are urging the public to use caution when driving in work zones so everyone can get home safely.
Officials held a National Work Zone Awareness event on Tuesday in Cheyenne to raise awareness about driving and staying safe in work zones.
The event is part of National Work Zone Awareness Week, which is from April 26-30. State departments of transportation hold the event each spring to bring attention to work safety and mobility issues in work zones. The first national event was held in Springfield, Virginia in April 2000. This year’s event is called “Drive Safe. Work Safe. Save Lives.”
“Our work zones play a vital role in the preservation and enhancement of our state’s infrastructure,” said K. Luke Reiner, WYDOT director. “WYDOT crews and our and our partners in the road and bridge construction industry work in those areas to ensure our road systems and other key infrastructure and utilities are the best they can be. We need to make sure those workers are safe and get home to their families.”
Officials provided state and national statistics on the impacts of crashes in work zones. In Wyoming, an average of 245 crashes occurred in work zones each year. In 2020 alone, there were 251 crashes, which resulted in two fatalities and 61 injuries.
“We are urging the traveling public to pay attention and put down the distractions,” said Wyoming Highway Patrol Col. Kebin Haller. “As a driver of a vehicle, your first and only priority is to drive. No matter if it’s a work zone or not, your focus should always be on the road at all times.”
On the national level, statistics have shown that many of the crashes in work zones involved rear-end collisions, commercial motor vehicles and speeding. Nearly one quarter of all fatal work zone crashes involved rear-end collisions. In 2019, there were a total of 842 fatalities in work zones.
WYDOT officials offer several strategies for people to stay safe and protect others in work zones. They include:
- Stay alert and learn about construction zones along the route. Visit WYDOT’s 511 website at wyoroad.info to get construction zone updates.
- Obey posted signs and speed limits.
- Watch for workers.
- Watch for sudden vehicle stops. Construction vehicles can be coming in and out of work zones.
- Be cautious around large vehicles. Larger vehicles have slower reaction times.