The week of April 4-8 is "National Work Zone Safety Awareness Week" and the South Carolina DOT is honoring this week in order to highlight the importance of making work zones safer for highway workers. This week was created in 1999 by the Federal Highway Administration, the American Traffic Safety Services Association, and the Association of American State Highway and Transportation Officials, and challenges drivers to be especially attentive and careful when driving through a work zone.
This week is especially important because as the highway infrastructure ages, the SCDOT has focused its resources on rebuilding and improving the existing roadways. This means that while many projects have been completed, there are still many that are under construction in our area as well as throughout the state. Transportation Secretary Robert J. St. Onge, Jr. says "I urge motorists to slow down and use caution when traveling through work zones this week and every week throughout the year. As the weather gets warmer, more families are taking trips and more tourists are visiting our state. By slowing down and paying attention, motorists can help make work zones safer for highway workers as well as themselves."
Unfortunately from January to November of 2010, there were about 754 crashes that were work zone related. Of those crashes, 363 caused injuries and 11 fatalities. Work zone crashes often occur during afternoon rush hour - 3:00 to 6:00 P.M. and the majority of the fatalities in work zones were motorists, not the workers. The biggest reason for these crashes was driving too fast for conditions.
The SCDOT's partnership with the South Carolina Department of Public Safety's Safety Improvement Team has resulted in a drastic decline in work zone fatalities. Twenty-four Highway Patrol troopers work fulltime in work zone enforcement. To date, the team has issued 234,504 citations, ranging from speeding, failure to yield right of way, safety belt violations, child restraint violations, following too closely, and DUI's. S.C. Department of Public Safety director Mark Keel says, "the mere presence of a S.C. highway patrol vehicle in a work zone is in itself a deterrent to motorists. It serves notice, along with the work zone signs, that these areas are potentially dangerous and motorists should slow down and obey the posted speed limits."
The SCDOT says the best thing drivers can do to help reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities is to stay alert, turn off those cell phones, and simply follow the rules of the road.
If you are in need of a Myrtle Beach SC auto accident attorney, Conway lawyer Dirk Derrick at The Derrick Law Firm has been handling car accidents, personal injury, and wrongful death claims in Myrtle Beach, North Myrtle Beach, and Conway SC for over 23 years. Please call 843-248-7486 today.