Stay Calm, Alert in Work Zones, Highways Chief Tells Motorists

The Federal Highway Administration's administrator, J. Richard Capka, urged American motorists April 3 to slow down, not use cellphones behind the wheel, and observe seven other safety recommendations as he participated in the kickoff event for National Work Zone Awareness Week 2007. Work zone deaths reached 1,074 in 2005, roughly a fatality every eight hours, says FHWA, which notes that 80 percent of victims in work zone crashes are motorists rather than workers.

"Because America's highways are getting more congested, the risk of crashes increases," Capka said. "Congestion relief is critical to the economy and keeping highways crash-free and operating at optimal efficiency is critical to congestion relief." Spring is the season when highway construction typically starts. Capka asked drivers to remember FHWA's Ten Tips for Work Zone Driving": (Expect the unexpected, Slow down, Don't tailgate, Keep a safe distance between you and the car ahead of you, Pay attention to the signs, Obey road crew flaggers, Stay alert and minimize distractions, Keep up with traffic flow, Schedule enough time to drive safely and check radio, TV, and Web sites for traffic information, and Be patient and stay calm. National Work Zone Awareness Week ends Friday.

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