CHARLOTTE, N.C. (April 8, 2019) – National Work Zone Awareness Week is this week, April 8-12. AAA Carolinas supports this nationwide initiative that aims to remind motorists the importance of being extra vigilant in work zones. Spring brings the start of road construction season which means drivers will run into more blocked off lanes and work zones on major roads.
“It is so important that motorists take work zones seriously and drive cautiously through them, said AAA Carolinas Foundation for Traffic Safety President Tiffany Wright. “Road safety crews and construction workers risk their lives on busy roadways to improve our driving conditions and transportation needs in our state and we must do our part as motorists to help keep them safe.”
In 2017, the most recent data, there were 799 fatalities nationwide that occurred in work zones, according to the National Work Zone Safety Information Clearinghouse, which is up from the previous three-year average of 764. 132 of those were the workers themselves. In North Carolina, there were 11 fatalities in 2017 in work-zones and in South Carolina there were 20.
As motorists approach a marked work zone, they should expect a reduced speed limit and lane closures. This may make the existing lanes narrow and traffic will have to shift to adjust.
“We urge motorists to prepare for sudden changes in driving conditions when approaching work zone areas,” added Wright. “By simply staying alert and slowing down, motorists can help prevent work zone crashes and keep themselves, their passengers, and roadway construction workers safe.”
Work zones are protected by the “Move Over Law,” which requires that drivers – if they deem it is safe to do so – move a lane away from any law enforcement or emergency vehicle on the side of the road. Failure to adhere to the Move Over Law in North Carolina will result in a $500 fine along with the possibility of being charged with a felony if a collision occurs. Failure to adhere to the Move Over Law in South Carolina is considered a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not less than $300 nor more than $500.
AAA Carolinas advises motorists to adhere to the following tips when driving in a work zone:
Some work zones are mobile and moving, such as when line painting, road patching or mowing are occurring. Just because you do not see the workers immediately after you see the warning sign does not mean they are not there. Observe the posted signs until you see the one that says “End Road Work.”
AAA Carolinas, an affiliate of the American Automobile Association, is a not-for-profit organization that serves more than 2.1 million member and the public with travel, automobile and insurance services while being an advocate for the safety and security of all travelers.