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States observe National Work Zone Awareness Week with multiple events

“We would like motorists to understand that it’s their friends and neighbors who out here working on our highways and bridges every day,” said Mark Bortle, traffic safety engineer in the Iowa DOT Office of Construction.

The Trucker News Services

4/24/2012

WASHINGTON — “Don’t Barrel Through Work Zones - Drive Smart to Arrive Alive” is the message being sent by state transportation departments across the country during National Work Zone Awareness Week, April 22-28.

This marks the 13th year that the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) has worked with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATSSA) to coordinate and sponsor the national kickoff event.

“AASHTO is pleased to support efforts to improve work zone safety each year,” said John Horsley AASHTO executive director. “We know that drivers need to be reminded to keep their eyes on the road. Texting and other distractions have become a major concern. When you’re traveling at 50 or 60 miles per hour, it only takes a couple of seconds of distraction to cause major tragedy.”

The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) today, hosted the national observance at the Route 141 reconstruction project; an active work zone near St. Louis. The event featured comments from Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez and family members of MoDOT highway workers killed in work zone crashes.

Among the other events taking place across the country during the week-long observance, departments of transportation in Washington State, Mississippi and Tennessee launched Operation Go Orange events that encourage local businesses, government agencies, and state employees to wear and/or prominently display the color orange as a reminder to drive safely through work zones. T

he Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) last year lost two employees in a work zone accident near Memphis. TDOT is lighting several buildings in orange this week including the state Capitol and the courthouse in Nashville.

Speaking at a press conference in Tulsa, to launch the Oklahoma Department of Transportation’s annual event today, the widow of one of the two workers, killed in work zone accidents in 2011, urged motorist to slow down. 

The Iowa Department of Transportation held its annual observance near Waterloo, in conjunction with the start of the I-380 reconstruction project.

“We would like motorists to understand that it’s their friends and neighbors who out here working on our highways and bridges every day,” said Mark Bortle, traffic safety engineer in the Iowa DOT Office of Construction. “Highway workers take a huge risk to help make travel better and safer for everyone and we don’t want to lose another life in our state or anywhere else.”

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The Nevada Department of Transportation and the Nevada Highway Patrol today, held two media events calling on motorists to always safely drive through work zones using driving tips available at www.nevadadot.com/safety.

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) is again this year, teaming up with State Police to begin the Work Zone Speed Enforcement program.  MassDOT says law enforcement officials made more 2,000 traffic stops for speeding violations in work zones last year. The program, which is supported by federal highway safety funds, is in its second and final year.

The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) will hold its annual Remembrance Day ceremonies at seven locations across the state, Tuesday, April 24. CDOT employees, law enforcement officials and contractors assemble each year to honor CDOT’s 58 employees who have died in the line of duty since 1929.

A public service announcement promoting this year’s slogan, “Don’t Barrel Through Work Zones! Drive Smart to Arrive Alive“ is available on line.

The Trucker staff can be reached to comment on this article at editor@thetrucker.com.

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