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Maryland transportation officials commemorate work zone safety week

Today marks the fourth day of National Work Zone Safety Week. Did you know that every year approximately 1,400 people are hurt by a car accident which takes place in a Maryland work zone? The State Highway Administration wants to see that number dramatically decrease and is using this week to highlight the many different ways Maryland citizens can foster work zone safety.

National Work Zone Safety Week is a federal event sponsored by the Department of Transportation in conjunction with state-level highway safety organizations. In Maryland, the week began as transportation officials gathered at the road construction project which will eventually become a highway linking Prince George and Montgomery counties. The ceremony included a memorial to all the workers who have died in work zone motor vehicle accidents.

Other Work Zone Safety Week events highlighted the stories of families who have lost loved ones due to careless driving in a construction area. One widow described how her husband died while leading a maintenance team in Frederick County. He was struck by a speeding pickup which swerved onto the road's shoulder where he was working.

Another resident of Riva, Maryland, explained the incredible stress which was placed upon her family after her father was hit by a car while directing traffic around a work zone. The victim remains in the hospital after his severe injuries caused bleeding in his brain.

Statistics show that, on average, well over 2,500 work zone car accidents occur each year on Maryland roads. Measures such as SafeZone speed cameras which fine drivers who exceed the speed limit by over 12 miles per hour have been implemented in an attempt to increase work zone safety, but Maryland's Transportation Security herself admitted to reporters that the state still has a "long way to go."

Source: Hometown Annapolis, "Slow down in highway work zones, officials say." Shantee Woodards, 5 April 2011

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