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(August 14, 2007) – Following the tragic incident in which a driver veered onto the shoulder near parked construction equipment causing the death of two highway workers and the injury of three others, the Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) urges motorists to drive safely and stay alert for highway workers. It is critical that motorists remember that work zone safety is everyone’s business and that work zones require every driver’s full attention. Lives of both workers and motorists are at stake.           
“Our thoughts are with the Ruffin and Cronin families, the injured workers and their families and co-workers,” said State Highway Administrator and Governor’s Highway Safety Representative Neil J. Pedersen. “Safety is our number one priority, and SHA takes every precaution to keep both workers and motorists safe. Motorists, too, have a paramount role in keeping workers safe – it begins with driving attentively and reducing speeds.”          
This incident comes on the heels of two recent work zone fatalities. In one case, a long-time SHA maintenance worker was killed along US 340 in Frederick County; in the second, a prison worker on a litter detail was killed along I-95 in Prince George’s County.          
At anytime, there may be as many as 300 active work zones around the State. This most recent incident occurred along northbound US 29 as part of the bridge patching project along US 29 over the Patuxent River near the Howard/ Montgomery county line. The workers are employees of PDI Sheetz of Linthicum Heights, the contractor for this project.          
In 2006, there were more than 2,200 work zone related crashes that resulted in the death of 13 people and the injury of another 1,072. In the more than 1,000 work zone fatalities nationwide, the majority of those killed, four out of five, were motorists or passengers – not workers.          
Motorists have an important role in reducing work zone-related crashes and saving lives. Take your eyes off of the road for just one second while traveling 65 mph and you will travel 100 feet – possibly into a work area. SHA reminds motorists to stay alert for workers, and learn the location of active work zones by consulting           
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