As the Calhoun County Road Commission (CCRC) gears up for road construction season, we join with road agencies from across the country in recognizing National Work Zone Awareness Week, April 4-8, 2011.

With the return of the familiar orange barrels, CCRC is asking motorists to unplug from distractions as they enter work zones to keep both motorists and road workers safe. As roadways get more congested and workers are present, more attention is needed to driving. It is not just road workers at risk, but the motorists themselves. More than 85% of all people killed in highway work zone crashes are drivers and passengers, not road workers.

While many factors contribute to deadly work zone crashes, driver behavior plays a huge role. We are asking county motorists to slow down, buckle up, drive sober, pay attention, and at all times, drive as if their life depends on it.

In Michigan, most work zones are posted at 45 mph where workers are present. Motorists caught speeding in work zones are subject to doubled fines and additional points against their driver’s license. Causing the injury of another person in a work zone is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in prison and $1,000 in fines. Causing the death of a person in a work zone is a felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison and $7,500 in fines.

The National Work Zone Awareness campaign began in 2000 by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATSSA), and the Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (ASHTO) to build public awareness of work zone safety. A YouTube public service announcement is below: