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Highway construction and work zone safety: drivers urged to slow down

It's been an uncertain spring in many parts of the U.S. But with calendar turning to May next week, authorities in Maryland and across the nation are making plans for the summer road construction season. It is important that those plans include proper attention to worker safety.

That is why Maryland is recognizing April as Work Zone Safety Awareness Month. The goal is to cut down on the number of work zone crashes that injure or kill road construction workers.

The Maryland event is part of a larger national event organized by several different agencies and safety advocacy groups.

Statistics show that Maryland has a lot of progress to be made in reducing work zone crashes. Over the last decade, there has been an average of more than 1,250 crashes in those areas resulting in injuries. The average number of deaths per year in Maryland is 11.

Nationally, of course, these numbers really add up - to an average of more than 700 people killed every year. To be sure, not all of these are construction workers. Indeed, a majority of the deaths of are drivers or passengers in motor vehicles who are travelling through work zones. Yet far too many workers are killed or injured as well.

Law enforcement officials saw they are ready to do their part to prevent work zone accidents by enforcing speed limits consistently. This effort will include a program that uses automated speed cameras. The program involves fines for drivers who go 12 or more miles over the speed limit.

Of course, the employment status of workers in construction zones varies considerably. Some are employees. Others are contractors.

As with any work injury, however, it is important to realize the role of workers' compensation. Work comp is designed to provide compensation to employees who are hurt on the job and for spouses or dependents of those who are killed.

Source: "Maryland Partners in Work Zone Awareness Week," Southern Maryland News Net, 4-19-13

Please visit our page on construction accidents.

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