More Construction in South Florida and National Work Zone Awareness Week
If it seems like construction is happening everywhere in South Florida, small wonder: the South Florida Business Journal published statistics from Dodge Data & Analytics indicating construction starts are already up 3% in South Florida in 2017. That’s 10.9 billion in projects over the tri-county region.
Florida as a whole added more construction jobs than any other state– 22,300, for 5.1% growth year over year, according to Labor Department statistics. And a survey by the Associated General Contractors found that 30 percent of Florida construction firms expect a higher dollar volume of projects throughout all of 2017.
With all the construction happening, that means population growth, and roadway infrastructure being improved to support it. Meanwhile, the dangers construction workers and motorists face on American roadways is one reason to remember National Work Zone Awareness Week 2017 each spring.
The week long occasion has been observed since 1999, with the goal of encouraging safe driving through work zones. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has been working with the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) as well as the American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATSSA) to help coordinate and bring attention to the event.
This year’s theme was “Work Zone Safety is in Your Hands”
Of course, extra caution in work zones is prudent year-round: while highway fatalities are declining overall, in an eight year analysis work zone fatalities were shown to represent 2% of all roadway fatalities. These 669 fatalities in work zones demonstrate a rate of decline that is lower than overall.
So how can South Florida motorists better protect themselves and others present in highway construction areas?
Safety Tips for Driving Through Work Zones
Be aware that construction zones almost always mean less lanes or narrower lanes than usual. That means aggravated drivers—and heightened danger.
- Obey speed limits posted. This is the single biggest action a motorist can take to remain safe.
- Expect the Unexpected. Expect stops more often than usual. Don’t be surprised to see a construction worker on the road in front of you. And be wary of objects that may fall into the roadway.
- Don’t get Distracted. A work zone is no place to look at your smartphone or dig in the glove box for anything. Tuning in something on the radio will mean your full attention is not on the road—so wait until you are through the construction zone.
- Leave More Space. Tailgating means more potential for a rear end collision.
- Be patient. And if patience is a problem for you? Plan an alternate route.
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