Governor Announces Maryland Work Zone Safety Work Group, Proclaims April 19 ‘Go Orange and Highway Worker Appreciation Day’
ANNAPOLIS, MD – Governor Wes Moore and Lieutenant Governor Aruna Miller today joined with officials from the Maryland Department of Transportation, Maryland State Police and members of the transportation construction community to mark National Work Zone Awareness Week. To support worker safety, the governor announced the creation of a Maryland Work Zone Safety Work Group. The group, which will be chaired by Lt. Governor Miller, will study increased protection for highway workers. Governor Moore also proclaimed April 19 as “Go Orange and Highway Worker Appreciation Day.”
“As we build an efficient and equitable transportation network, all Marylanders need to do their part to make sure the men and women doing the work are safe,” said Gov. Moore. “We must prioritize safety over speed, which is why I’m announcing the formation of a highway work zone safety work group to develop tangible solutions to protect workers, drivers and passengers.”
“In my more than two decades of experience as a transportation engineer, I’ve seen firsthand the safety challenges associated with highway work zones,” said Lt. Gov. Miller. “The safety of all highway users, as well as those who improve and maintain our highway network, is paramount. I am honored to be taking action to keep Maryland workers safe as chair of the Governor’s Work Zone Safety Work Group.”
National Work Zone Awareness Week, which is April 17-21, acknowledges the everyday dedication of roadway workers. With 300 highway construction, maintenance, and utility projects and more than 1,000 workers a day currently active across the state, officials are imploring drivers to slow down, move over whenever possible and pay close attention in highway work zones.
From 2017 to 2021, there were 7,521 work zone-related crashes in Maryland – an average of 1,500 each year – resulting in 3,059 injuries and 46 fatalities. Those injured and killed include highway workers, drivers, and passengers. Preliminary numbers for 2022 show 1,239 work zone-related crashes, including 412 injuries and 11 fatalities. This year, the work zone crash along I-695 resulted in six fatalities.
“Work zone safety is everyone’s responsibility,” said Maryland Transportation Secretary Paul J. Wiedefeld. “The men and women of our highway work crews are providing a vital service – maintaining and improving the transportation system we rely on every day. We all must work together to provide them with the respect, and the protection, they deserve.”
“Significant steps are being taken to enhance safety in our work zones, and motorists will notice an increased police presence in and around active work zones throughout Maryland. Emergency lights on police vehicles will be activated when stationary assignments to provide an even higher level of visibility,” said Maj. Scott Keyser, Commander of the Field Operations Bureau Northern Command for Maryland Department of State Police. “To increase motorist’s compliance with traffic safety laws and to promote a safer roadside working environment, patrol troopers assigned to each of our 23 barracks across this state are working continuous enforcement initiatives.”
In support of National Work Zone Awareness Week and in observance of Highway Worker Appreciation Day, Government House will be lit orange, the universal color of highway work zones, on April 19. Vehicles from regional transportation partners will also partake in a unity ride beginning at noon near MD 176 in Anne Arundel County, following I-97 and the Inner Loop of I-695 to I-83, ending at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium.
The State Highway Administration also is conducting a social media campaign to raise awareness about safe driving in work zones and will share “Go Orange” efforts on its social media platforms with #GoOrangeMD. All Maryland Department of Transportation agencies will share work zone safety messages across their social media outlets as well.
The Motor Vehicle Administration’s Highway Safety Office launched its “Be the Focused Driver” campaign in 2020 and continues to work closely with law enforcement officials to encourage motorists to put down cell phones, ignore other distractions and give driving their full attention when behind the wheel. To support work zone safety, the MVA’s Highway Safety Office created graphics and social media messages reminding motorists to “Be the Focused Driver” when approaching and driving in work zones.
Motorists are also encouraged to plan ahead and learn where construction projects are taking place before they drive. For a complete list of major State Highway Administration projects in Maryland, visit the agency’s project portal. Drivers can also go to www.md511.org for real-time traffic updates, including construction delays and lane closures.
For more on work zone safety, visit roads.maryland.gov and click on the Work Zone Safety banner.