"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 & 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.
Among the 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 or prominently display the color orange as a reminder to drive safely through work zones. The 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, the widow of one of the two workers killed in work-zone accidents in 2011 urged motorists to slow down.
The Iowa DOT 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 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."
The Nevada DOT and the Nevada Highway Patrol 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 DOT is again this year, teaming up with state police to begin the Work Zone Speed Enforcement program. MassDOT says law enforcement officials made more than 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 DOT will hold its annual Remembrance Day ceremonies at seven locations across the state. 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 at aash.to/nwzaw2012.