Work Zone Safe, ODOT train teen drivers in work zone safety
Students attending the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) state convention in Oklahoma City got a glimpse Thursday at the Faces Behind the Flag work zone safety demonstration in the exhibit area of the Oklahoma City Convention Center.
Personnel with the Oklahoma Department of Transportation, the Work Zone Safe program and its safety partners walked students through a mock work zone to educate them about the hazards they may face on highways when driving. Following a few simple rules of the road such as buckling up, putting away distractions and slowing down inside work zones could mean the difference between a life-altering crash and getting home safely.
This event falls within ODOT's and the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority's work zone safety awareness month efforts to remind motorists to Make It Home Safe; Make Oklahoma Safe.
"The premise behind Work Zone Safe is to give teen drivers the information they need to navigate highway work zones before they ever encounter one on the road," said Tom Robins, Work Zone Safe founder. "We want teens to know the rules of the road to help ensure they and our workers arrive home safe every day."
Overall, crashes and traffic fatalities are up in Oklahoma and nationwide. The data in Oklahoma shows that drivers and passengers are far more likely than workers to lose their lives in crashes inside work zones. In the past five years, 91 people, including one ODOT worker, were killed and 1,294 people were injured in more than 7,125 collisions in Oklahoma work zones. Five people were killed and 81 were injured in 273 collisions in work zones through May 2022, which is the most recent data available.
Drivers ages 15-19 can take the free, 30-minute online work zone safety course at https://www.WorkZoneSafe.com. More than 3,000 Oklahoma teen drivers have taken the WorkZoneSafe.com course and more than 15,000 teens have interacted in person with the Face Behind the Flag work zone safety demonstrations statewide since the program's inception in 2021. Teens who successfully complete the course are entered each month by WorkZoneSafe.com to win a $500 Oklahoma 529 Educational Scholarship provided by the Association of Oklahoma General Contractors.
ODOT and OTA are reminding drivers that they will see more work zones in place this spring and summer. In fact, drivers can expect more than 160 active work zones in Oklahoma this summer driving season. These range from short-term maintenance projects with minimal impact to traffic to major interstate reconstruction, which can affect more than 100,000 vehicles per day.
The best way to not be caught off guard in work zones is to check before you go by using ODOT's and OTA's free Drive Oklahoma mobile app, checking traffic advisories or a map of current work zones at www.odot.org or viewing current traffic conditions at www.oktraffic.org. Another way to be aware of work zones is to check online at www.odot.org and click ODOT Project Status, which is a new map detailing highway project information. OTA projects are listed at www.accessoklahoma.com