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Federal Highway Administration > Publications > Focus > May 2008 > National Work Zone Awareness Week 2008: Slow for the Cone Zone
May 2008Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-08-013

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National Work Zone Awareness Week 2008: Slow for the Cone Zone

Figure 1. Photo. Poster graphic for National Work Zone Awareness Week 2008.

Drivers were reminded to “Slow for the Cone Zone” as State transportation departments, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATSSA), American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, and many others observed National Work Zone Awareness Week (NWZAW) 2008 from April 7–11. Work zone fatalities nationwide have increased over the last decade by nearly 50 percent. In 2006, 1,010 workers and motorists were killed in work zones.

The kickoff event for NWZAW 2008 was held at the California State Capitol in Sacramento, California, on April 8. Hosted by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), the event also included the 18th annual Caltrans Workers Memorial ceremony to honor the three Caltrans employees killed in work zones in 2007 and the 167 other Caltrans employees killed in the line of duty since 1924. “Every day highway workers put their lives in danger just by going to work,” said Caltrans Director Will Kempton. “In a dual effort to keep both workers and drivers safe, we are honored to host the National Work Zone Awareness Week kickoff to stress highway safety and emphasize the dire consequences of not slowing for cone zones across the United States.” The hundreds of attendees at the event included family members of workers killed or injured in work zones, public officials, highway workers, and members of the media.

While the 2008 kickoff event was in California, “National Work Zone Awareness Week has truly become a national campaign,” says James Baron of ATSSA. The many other States observing NWZAW included Florida, which has an ongoing campaign reminding motorists, “Work Zone Safety. It’s Everyone’s Job.” Through public service announcements, brochures, and a campaign Web site (http://itseveryonesjob.com), Florida has publicized safety tips for traveling through work zones, including “Stay alert,” “Turn on your headlights,” “Don’t tailgate,” “Don’t speed,” and “Avoid distractions such as using cell phones and changing radio stations.”

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) held a ceremony during NWZAW at the VDOT Worker’s Memorial on Interstate 64 East near Afton Mountain. Eleven highway safety cones were placed in front of the memorial to remember the 10 motorists and 1 highway contractor who were killed in State-maintained work zones in 2007. VDOT’s work zone safety outreach efforts include partnering with the Virginia Transportation Construction Alliance (VTCA) to speak at high schools statewide and help students understand the consequences of not driving safely through work zones. During the 2006/2007 school year, VDOT and VTCA representatives made presentations to more than 25,000 students.

Figure 2. Photo. Five members of the Caltrans Honor Guard dedicate four traffic cones at the National Work Zone Awareness Week kickoff event in Sacramento, CA, on April 8, 2008. Three cones represent the Caltrans workers killed in work zones in 2007, while a fourth cone commemorates all fallen highway workers across the Nation. Members of the crowd attending the event can be seen behind the Honor Guard.
The Caltrans Honor Guard dedicates four traffic cones at the National Work Zone Awareness Week kickoff event in Sacramento, CA, on April 8. Three cones represent the Caltrans workers killed in work zones in 2007, while a fourth cone commemorates all fallen highway workers across the Nation.

 

Figure 3. Photo. Caltrans Director Will Kempton and California’s Business, Transportation, and Housing Agency Secretary Dale Bonner stand beside a wreath dedicated to those killed working on the Nation’s highway system.
Caltrans Director Will Kempton (left) and California's Business, Transportation, and Housing Agency Secretary Dale Bonner (right) stand beside a wreath dedicated to those killed working on the Nation's highway system.

 

Figure 4. Photo. The wreckage of a Caltrans pickup truck that was struck by a truck on I-80 this year is displayed at the National Work Zone Awareness Week kickoff event in Sacramento, CA. Two men are looking at the display.
Caltrans displays the wreckage of an agency vehicle that was struck by a truck on I-80 this year. The driver of the truck died in the incident but the Caltrans employee survived with minor injuries.

 

Figure 5. Photo. Three dozen doves are released at the conclusion of the National Work Zone Awareness Week kickoff event in Sacramento, CA. A crowd stands watching as the doves are released.
Three dozen doves are released at the conclusion of the National Work Zone Awareness Week kickoff event in Sacramento.

In Delaware, highway worker safety vests adorned everyone from members of the State House of Representatives to a statue of William Penn in Old New Castle, as part of the Delaware Department of Transportation’s (DelDOT) commemoration of April as Work Zone Safety Awareness Month. To raise public awareness of work zone safety for State and city workers, DelDOT continued what it dubbed the “Vesting” of Delaware throughout the month, with a work zone vest also appearing on a statue of National Baseball Hall of Fame member William Julius “Judy” Johnson at Frawley Stadium in Wilmington. To learn more about DelDOT’s work zone safety campaign, visit www.deldot.gov/information/media_gallery/2008/workzone_safety.

The New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT), meanwhile, called attention to NWZAW 2008 through a press conference at the site of a NYSDOT highway maintenance project in Dutchess County. And in Oregon, the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) continues to educate drivers and encourage safety in work zones by promoting the slogan, “Slow down. Better roads ahead.” ODOT’s tips include reminding drivers that “Orange is your clue” and to “Slow down when you see orange signs, barrels, and barricades.” More information on Oregon’s work zone safety campaign is available at www.oregon.gov/ODOT/TS/workzonesafety.shtml.

A range of work zone safety resources can be found online at the National Work Zone Safety Information Clearinghouse (www.workzonesafety.org). The site includes information on training, standards and practices, safety products, and laws and regulations, as well as a list of expert contacts. Information on FHWA’s resources and activities is available at safety.fhwa.dot.gov/wz and www.ops.fhwa.dot.gov/wz. Resources include FHWA’s Best Practices Guidebook (Pub. No. FHWA-OP-00-010), which highlights good work zone practices being used throughout the United States. The guidebook is available at www.ops.fhwa.dot.gov/wz/practices/best/bestpractices.htm.

NWZAW 2009 is scheduled for April 6–11, 2009, with a national kickoff event to be held in Maryland. For more information about NWZAW 2008, visit www.atssa.com/cs/root/news_pr/nwzaw_2008, or contact James Baron at ATSSA, 800-272-8772 (email: jimb@atssa.com). To learn more about FHWA’s work zone safety resources, contact Morris Oliver at FHWA, 202-366-2288 (email: morris.oliver@fhwa.dot.gov), or Chung Eng at FHWA, 202-366-8043 (email: chung.eng@fhwa.dot.gov).

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Updated: 04/07/2011

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