The professional driver in NASCAR’s top series donned a hard hat and grabbed a stop sign to see what it’s like to work on a highway construction site.
NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series doesn’t visit Dover International Speedway for another month, but Martin Truex, Jr. made an early stop in Delaware to help the Department of Transportation kick off Work Zone Safety Week. Truex spent a few minutes stopping cars on an on-ramp at the Route 1/I-95 construction zone.
The goal of the visit is to raise awareness about the dangers created when drivers aren’t cautious in work zones. DelDOT Secretary Shailen Bhatt says in 2011, there were more than 100 work zone crashes in Delaware and one fatality involving a driver under the influence of drugs. Nationally, 30,000 people were injured and 500 killed in work zone crashes in 2010.
As the weather gets warmer, construction season will be in full bloom, especially around the Route 1/I-95 interchange project. The major project to replace a notorious bottleneck is scheduled to be completed later this year, but there’s still a lot of work that will involve lane shifts and closures throughout the summer. Bhatt says those changes require drivers to pay close attention as they approach the work zone, not just to look out for workers, but for other drivers who may not be prepared for the changes.
This is the ninth year Delaware has taken part in the national work zone awareness week. Truex is DelDOT’s officials spokesman for this year’s campaign theme, “Not the Place to Race.”