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Safety in transportation systems is something we all want. To achieve it, everyone must be part of the solution.

The spring construction is ramping up. In fact, a quick drive around isn’t quick at all right now. There are numerous road repair and reconstruction projects underway that are producing road closings and lane restrictions.

The result will be a vastly improved system of roads and streets that make transportation through the area safer and more convenient for travelers and residents alike.

Meanwhile, it’s going to be a bit messy out there. And the enhanced dangers aren’t just for motorists. Construction workers also find themselves in the crosshairs of traffic snarls and aggravated or impatient drivers. It’s a risky business for construction workers, and the rest of us should pledge to pay close attention and give them a break.

The Indiana Department of Transportation and similar agencies around the nation have been doing their part to raise awareness of roadway work zones, whether they be on an expressway, main street, side street or country road.

This is National Work Zone Awareness Week. Its theme is “Drive Like You Work Here.”

At stake, quite simply, is people’s lives. In Indiana during the past five years, 98 people have been killed in work zone crashes, including 15 in 2018.

As the construction season goes on, you may begin to think that you’ve never seen so many road projects underway creating traffic bottlenecks. You would be right.

Indiana alone is delivering what its officials call a record number of road construction projects that are the result of the state’s Next Level Roads program. There are 1,100 projects planned. Contractors will repave more than 3,700 lane miles of highway, improve about 650 bridges, and complete more than 60 traffic safety improvement projects.

Cities, towns and counties will also be involved in projects of their own.

Road construction workers are trained in safety practices and procedures. But creating a safe environment is not just their responsibility.

INDOT Commissioner Joe McGuinness, in a Flashpoint essay, bluntly stated that work zone safety is a shared responsibility. He’s right. Motorists are expected to do their part. A safe work zone will never exist unless drivers are following all traffic laws and make a personal commitment to do their part to drive like lives are at stake. Because they are.

— The (Terre Haute) Tribune-Star

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