This video from the New York Times was part of a December 2009 story about deadly accidents in highway work zones around the country. The segment above begins with the story of a 42-year-old Sarasota man who was killed in a highway work zone accident on Interstate 75 in 2007. Two people were killed and at least 10 more were injured when an 18-wheel tractor trailer going 70 miles per hour “knocked cars aside like bowling pins before jackknifing 100 yards down the highway,” according to the Times.
We mention this now because April 23-27 is National Work Zone Awareness Week. Since 1999, the annual campaign has been coordinated every year by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATSSA) and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO).
While Work Zone Awareness Week is indeed an effort to enhance the safety of construction workers, the campaign is also for the safety of motorists as well. As the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) notes:
· Most of the people who die in work zone crashes are motorists and pedestrians.
· More than half of the fatal crashes in work zones occur after dark.
· Nearly one quarter of fatal crashes in work zones are influenced by alcohol and drugs.
· More than 50 percent of all work zone crashes happen because of speeding.
It should also be noted that Florida is one of the states in which fines can be doubled for any motorist speeding in a work zone. As construction season gets underway on roads and highways throughout Florida and around the country, it is critical for all drivers to slow down and be alert not just for the safety of construction workers, but their own safety as well.
Wooten, Kimbrough & Normand, P.A. – Orlando personal injury lawyers