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Maryland drivers warned to stay alert in work zones

Highway officials in Maryland have warned motorists to be vigilant as they travel in work zones. With the large amount of construction and maintenance crews on the roadways, drivers should be on the lookout for orange cones and barrels. While these signs serve to protect employees, their purpose is also to keep drivers and passengers safe.

The report noted that the state will invest $60 million in a construction project on US 301 and MD 304. The project will involve several hundred contractors and state employees who will be doing seasonal repairs as well as extensive construction in the work zones. The various jobs will include basic road and bridge repairs, widening roadways and interchange construction.

An estimated 8,100 auto accidents occurred within the state's work zones over the past five years, resulting in about 3,600 individuals being injured. Moreover, ten people died in work zone accidents in 2013 and nine in 2014.

Maryland's police lieutenant, the State Highway District Engineer and a work zone safety advocate were among those issuing the warning. The district engineer stated that distracted driving and speeding threaten the safety of other drivers and roadway employees, and that it is imperative motorists use caution while traveling in these areas. By being alert in these work zones, drivers can greatly decrease the probability for accidents.

Construction crews who are involved in roadway work zones face serious consequences in the event of a vehicle crash. Because they have very little protection, these workers are vulnerable to catastrophic injuries that can prove fatal. Construction workers who are hit by a speeding car may suffer injuries that can permanently alter their lives and affect their families. Workers' compensation can provide benefits to workers who are injured in these types of construction accidents.

Source: Baynet.com,"Safer driving. Safer work zones. For everyone.", State Highway Administration, May 8, 2015

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