(Washington, DC) Director Gabe Klein announced today that the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) is launching a new campaign to promote safe driving and to educate motorists about the consequences of committing traffic offenses in work zones. DDOT will soon post signs on major routes and bridges into the District, and on the approaches to road projects, to ensure motorists know the fines are doubled in work zones.
“We are pleased to implement the increased fines in construction zones, which were provided in legislation passed by the DC Council,” said Mr. Klein. “If you speed or commit another traffic infraction, it will cost you: a $125 ticket would be $250 in a work zone. But that’s just one consequence; it’s also extremely dangerous for the men and women who work on our road projects, and for the drivers.”
The announcement coincides with the start of National Work Zone Awareness Week. This morning, Mr. Klein joined national and regional highway safety leaders to kickoff the week at a ceremony on Columbia Island in the District, just yards away from a major bridge replacement project on the George Washington Memorial Parkway.
Each year, approximately 1,000 lives are lost in work zones, and the majority of those fatalities are motorists – not the workers themselves. On a positive note, the number of work zone fatalities and injuries has declined in the ten years since National Work Zone Awareness Week was first celebrated. However, with federal economic recovery funds now jumpstarting thousands of road projects across the country, officials caution drivers need to be as attentive and careful as ever.
“We have a lot of exciting road and bridge projects we’re ready to get started on,” said Mr. Klein. “That means there will be a lot of workers working precariously close to traffic. Please cut them a break, slow down and be careful in work zones.”
For more information on National Work Zone Awareness Week, please visit http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/wz/wz_awareness.htm.