Orange Cones. No Phones.
- The Fairfax County Department of Transportation and Fairfax Connector value the safety and welfare of our employees. As such, we implemented a policy via Fairfax County Government regarding the use of cell phones for business activities when on the road on March 9, 2006.
- The Fairfax County Department of Transportation and Fairfax Connector support the "Orange Cones. No Phones." Employer Safety Pledge – committed to reducing distracted driving in construction zones.
Traffic congestion is a major issue for the entire Washington
Metropolitan region, particularly on the Capital Beltway – the third
most congested highway in the nation. Not only is the Beltway congested –
it is also under construction. The Washington Metropolitan region is home
to two of the largest transportation improvement projects currently under
construction in the nation – the Capital Beltway HOT Lanes Project and
the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project. When the projects are complete,
they will provide a host of new travel options. For the next few years,
however, the region will remain an active construction zone – leaving no
room for distracted driving.
For the past two years, Transurban-Fluor and AAA Mid-Atlantic have surveyed regional drivers to understand how distraction might be taking a toll on their driving safety. Results from the 2010 survey show that drivers are more distracted and more dangerous today than they were just a year ago. Compared to 2009, an equal percentage, and in many cases a greater percentage, of Beltway drivers are using their phones while driving.
The 2010 report reveals that 55 percent of Beltway drivers currently use their phones while driving:
- 30 percent talk on a hands-free cell phone
- 33 percent talk on a hand-held cell phone
- 22 percent read texts
- 13 percent write texts
In just one year, the number of Beltway drivers reading text messages
while driving increased by 47 percent – from 15 percent to 22
This distraction is dangerous. In 2010, 1 in every 4 drivers, a full 25 percent, noted that they had experienced an accident or near miss due to distracted driving. In fact, drivers using hand-held cell phones are four times more likely to be in a crash.
The most recent report also shows that half of drivers who use their cell phones while behind the wheel do so because they are responding to work-related issues from the road. Fifty-seven percent of drivers say they respond to work issues while driving because they feel an immediate response is required. Other factors include the desire to multitask/save time, making sure it is not an emergency, habit and facing an emergency situation.
To protect yourself in work zones, follow these safety tips provided by the Virginia Department of Transportation:
- Stay alert – Expect anything to occur when entering a work zone
- Pay close attention – Signs and work zone flaggers save lives
- Turn on your headlights – Workers and other motorists must see you
- Don’t tailgate – Unexpected stops frequently occur in work zones
- Don’t speed – Note the speed limits in and around the work zone
- Keep up with traffic flow – Dedicate your full attention to your surroundings
- Don’t change lanes in the work zone – The time saved just isn’t worth it
- Minimize distractions – Avoid changing radio stations and using cell phones
- Expect the unexpected – Keep an eye out for workers and their equipment
- Be patient – Remember, the work zone crew members are working to improve your future ride