Letter to the Editor: Let’s work together for safety

Published 7:34 pm Friday, April 12, 2024

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Dear Editor, 

Construction season is underway. Our goal is always to be good stewards of public tax dollars and deliver quality transportation improvements safely, on budget, and on time. Our work is important and impacts all the Commonwealth’s citizens. We are honored to keep Virginia moving, but our work comes with its share of risks. Highway work zones can be dangerous for our crews and contractors – and to those traveling through.

National Work Zone Awareness Week runs from April 15-19, 2024. This year’s theme is Work Zones are temporary. Actions behind the wheel can last forever. Truer words have never been spoken. To keep our work zones safe, we need to work together. Whenever you drive into one of our necessary work zones, please:

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Slow down.

Pay attention to the road in front of you. 

Ignore your phone and other distractions.

Drive defensively. 

Look out for the workers and the equipment being used.  

Too often, work zones become the scenes of terrible crashes. Over the past five years, just in Virginia, there have been more than 21,000 crashes, 91 deaths, and more than 8,600 injuries in work zones. Thankfully, the numbers are trending downward. In 2021, 28 people died in work zone crashes in Virginia. The following year, it was 22. Last year, it was 13. That’s 13 too many, but with your help we can continue this positive trend.

On behalf of all VDOT employees and contractors, and highway workers everywhere, we ask you to commit yourself to putting safety first in work zones. Our choices matter. One wrong move can have devastating consequences. Our goal is that everyone who works or passes through one of our work zones makes it safely back to their loved ones.


Chris Winstead, 

P.E. District Engineer, 

VDOT’s Lynchburg District