Heads Up! Summer 2021 Work Zones Ahead

While in Work Zones: Keep Your Distance & Never cut off a truck or bus.

Each day, large truck and bus drivers face safety challenges when operating on state highways and interstates, particularly during the summer months when major construction projects begin, and more people are generally on the road. Whether you’re taking the kids to visit grandma for the weekend or en route to the next rest stop, it’s likely you’ll travel through work zones and congested roadways.

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association (FMCSA) and state safety partners work hard every day to remind the driving public to be mindful of large trucks and bus drivers operating in work zones. From narrowed lanes, sudden stops, traffic pattern shifts, and uneven road surfaces — one false move can lead to devastating consequences. And unfortunately, work zone fatalities are on the rise.

  • In 2019, over 33% of fatal crashes involved a CMV, and compared to the year before, the U.S. saw a 16% increase in the number of fatal work zone crashes involving large trucks or buses¹.
  • The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) reported that in 2019, 842 people died in highway work zone crashes compared to 757 the year before². The 11.2% increase is the largest percentage increase of work zone fatalities this century.

These are just a few statistics supporting FMCSA’s work zone safety awareness campaign recently launched during National Work Zone Awareness Week in April. The campaign, part of FMCSA’s national Our Roads, Our Safety campaign, calls on all drivers to stay extra focused when traveling through work zones. Drivers should avoid all distractions and obey signage indicating reduced speeds, lane changes, and other important information. Here are some other tips to keep in mind as you approach work zones.

  • Research your route. Before setting out on the road, check for upcoming work zones. When possible, avoid them and use available detours.
  • Pay close attention. You should always keep your eyes on the road, but this is especially important in work zones. Avoid distractions such as your mobile phone, eating, drinking, the radio, GPS, and conversing with other passengers.
  • Keep your distance. Rear-end crashes are extremely common in work zones — always maintain extra space between your vehicle and the one in front of you.

Together, we can reduce crashes in work zones by following and sharing these simple safety tips with friends and family. It will take everyone to make an impact, so please do your part this summer by remembering to slow down, stay alert, and kindly, share the road. Visit www.fmcsa.dot.gov/ourroads/work-zone-safety-shareable-material for more information, resources to share regarding work zone safety.

¹ FARS 2019 Annual Report File, NHTSA.
² FARS 2018 Final File and 2019 Annual Report File, NHTSA.