Gov. Walker declares April 7-11 "Work Zone Awareness Week"

MADISON (WITI) -- To help prevent traffic crashes in road construction and maintenance work zones that injure and kill motorists and workers, Governor Scott Walker has proclaimed the week of April 7 to 11 as Work Zone Awareness Week in Wisconsin.

Governor Walker’s proclamation notes that “work zones may consist of short-term, localized projects involving local maintenance crews or utility workers or large highway reconstruction projects lasting months or years.”

The proclamation also reminds drivers that “work zones often require narrowed lanes, lane shifts, temporary pavements, reduced speeds and night work” and advises that “driving through work zones requires motorists’ utmost attention.”

Last year, there were nearly 1,600 work zone crashes in Wisconsin that caused nine deaths and 624 injuries, according to preliminary statistics from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT).

“Driving through a work zone is challenging under the best of circumstances, but your reaction time and margin for error are reduced significantly if you speed, tailgate or don’t pay attention to rapidly changing traffic situations. Rear-end collisions are the most frequent type of crash in a work zone,” says WisDOT Secretary Mark Gottlieb. “In work zones, workers and equipment often are operating within a few feet of traffic. Although construction workers are at a great risk of being hit, about three out of four people killed in work zone crashes are motorists. Because of the risks to motorists and workers, traffic fines are double in work zones.”

Secretary Gottlieb adds that the state’s Move Over Law helps protect workers by requiring drivers to shift lanes if possible or slow down in order to provide a safety zone for a law enforcement vehicle, ambulance, fire truck, tow truck or highway maintenance vehicle that is stopped on the side of a road with its warning lights flashing.