2018 National Work Zone Awareness Week media kick-off event happening in Chicago
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2018 National Work Zone Awareness Week media kick-off event happening in Chicago

The 2018 National Work Zone Awareness Week (NWZAW) Media kick-off event is being hosted in Chicago, Illinois, on April 10.

This year’s NWZAW kick-off host is the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT). This is the 19th kick-off event since NWZAW began in 1999.

NWZAW is a time to spread awareness of the importance of driving and working safely in roadway work zones. The 2015 Fatality Analysis Report System (FARS) report – the last year work zone information was made available – shows that in four out of five work zone crashes, the drivers and their passengers are the ones killed in the crash.

FARS also reported 700 work zone fatalities and 35,526 work zone injuries in 2015. In fact, there are enough individuals injured and killed in work zones each year in the United States to fill a sports arena, according to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).

NWZAW events and social media posts help bring the message of safety in work zones to the forefront at the beginning of the road construction season each year and thank roadway workers for all they do to maintain our nation’s roads and roadway infrastructure.

Here are some quick questions to gauge your knowledge on work zone safety:

  • Do you know the meaning of different work zone signage? Many don’t know the message or instructions being conveyed by signage in work zones. Become familiar with standard work zone signage and devices that communicate what is happening in a work zone, including cones, barrels, lights, and pavement markings.
  • Are you aware of your surroundings? If you’re driving work zone, make sure you’re driving in the correct lane at the proper speed. Limit or eliminate all distractions, use extra caution, and never use a mobile device when operating a vehicle.
  • Are you remaining calm while in a work zone? When in a work zone, the speed of traffic may not be ideal, but it’s necessary to keep drivers and workers safe. Stay calm and follow all work zone instructions while being mindful of workers that may be in traffic lanes.

The 2018 kick-off will take place at the Jane Byrne Interchange, with slated speakers including the Illinois Transportation Secretary Randy Blankenhorn, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner, and Christine Nichols, the widow of Ryan Nichols who was killed in a work zone crash in Illinois in 2011. IDOT will also be hosting a series of events throughout NWZAW. Learn more about NWZAW’s history and mission by clicking here.

Take a look at NWZAW kick-off locations and themes from previous years:

National Work Zone Awareness Week Kick-Off Themes

  • April 7-11, 2008 – Sacramento, California – “Slow for the Cone Zone"
  • April 6-10, 2009 – Arlington, Virginia – “Drive to Survive – Our Future is Riding on It!”
  • April 19-23, 2010 – New York, New York – “Work Zones Need Your Undivided Attention”
  • April 4-8, 2011 – Beltsville, Maryland – “Safer Driving. Safer Work Zones. For Everyone”
  • April 23-27, 2012 – St. Louis, Missouri – “Don’t Barrel Through Work Zones! Drive Smart to Arrive Alive”
  • April 15-19, 2013 – Washington, D.C. – “We’re All in This Together”
  • April 7-11, 2014 – Seattle, Washington – “Work Zone Speeding: A Costly Mistake”
  • March 23-27, 2015 – Arlington, Virginia – “Expect the Unexpected”
  • April 11-15, 2016 – Toledo, Ohio – “Don’t Be THAT Driver. Work on Safety. Get Home Safely. Every Day”
  • April 3-7, 2017 – Silver Spring, Maryland – “Work Zone Safety is in Your Hands”
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