LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW) - 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 15th to 19th as Work Zone Awareness Week in Wisconsin.
Governor Walker's proclamation notes that "construction and maintenance of our streets, highways and utility infrastructure are critical to improving the state's economic activity and employment by keeping the state open for business."
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 1,700 work zone crashes in Wisconsin that caused six deaths and nearly 733 injuries, according to preliminary statistics from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT).
"Driving through a work zone is challenging under the best 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."
Preventing traffic fatalities and injuries while maintaining an efficient highway system is a major priority in WisDOT's Mobility, Accountability, Preservation, Safety and Service (MAPSS) performance program, according to Secretary Gottlieb.
He says, "If we all do our part to prevent crashes in work zones and on all our roadways, we will make progress toward our ultimate goal of reducing the number of preventable traffic deaths to Zero In Wisconsin."