National Work Zone Awareness Week (NWZAW) is a campaign held every year in the spring at the beginning of construction season to bring national attention to motorist and worker safety issues and encourage safe driving through highway work zones. The key message is for drivers to use extra caution in work zones. The campaign is a partnership between state departments of transportation, national road safety organizations, government agencies, private companies, and individuals.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, there were 136 construction worker deaths caused by roadway incidents involving motor vehicles in 2015. Being struck by a vehicle is a leading cause of fatalities for roadway construction workers and the ultimate goal of this campaign is to eliminate the risks that cause those deadly accidents.
The outlined goals for NWZAW efforts:
- Initiate efforts to raise awareness of the need for more caution when driving through work zones to decrease fatalities and injuries;
- Establish and promote a uniform set of safety tips
- The value of training and importance of best practices in regard to work zone safety would be promoted among individuals in the private sector, industry, and roadway workers
- Reach out to both roadway workers and contractors to communicate possible effects of motorists’ behavior in response to traffic delays, and advise on what steps might possibly be taken to lessen negative behavior; and
- Outreach efforts would be made to work with entities involved with work zone safety and to form partnerships.
This year’s NWZAW theme is Work Zone Safety: Everybody’s Responsibility and will be hosted by the state of Illinois.