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|Publication Number: Date: Jan/Feb 2001|
Issue No: Vol. 64 No. 4
Date: Jan/Feb 2001
In a continuing effort to promote safety and mobility in work zones, the second annual National Work Zone Awareness Week will be held from April 9 to 12, 2001.
To kick off this campaign on April 9, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and some of FHWA's highway will sponsor a media event on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., to draw attention to the large number of work zone-related fatalities, what FHWA and its partners are doing to make work zones safer, and what road users can do to ensure safe travel through a work zone.
The event on the Mall will include a memorial to the 868 people killed in work zones in 1999. A display of 868 highway cones, each draped with a black ribbon, will dramatically symbolize this preventable loss.
The first National Work Zone Awareness Week was held in April 2000. The special week was established by a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that was signed by Robert A. Wentz, executive director of the American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATSSA); Thomas R. Warne, president of the American Association of State Highway and Traffic Officials (AASHTO); and Federal Highway Administrator Kenneth R. Wykle. The MOU created a partnership among states, industry, and the federal to address work-zone problems; and since the signing ceremony, many other safety, enforcement, and engineering partners have become part of this effort.
Even a cursory view of the statistics makes it very clear that work-zone safety is a major issue. In the past decade, nearly 9,000 people have lost their lives in work-zone crashes. A three-year decline in fatalities was reversed in 1998, when 772 people were killed and about 37,000 people were injured in work zones, and the 868 deaths in 1998 are nearly 12.5 percent more than the previous year.
"Despite these alarming numbers [of fatalities and injuries], the motoring public generally doesn't realize the extent of this situation, nor do they recognize that their actions can dramatically reduce these figures," said Thomas W. Flaherty, ATSSA's Safety Committee chairman. "Work-zone workers' environments include motor vehicles zipping by at speeds of 55 to 75 miles per hour [90 to 120 kilometers per hour], just inches from their work space. In fact, speeding traffic is the number one cause of injury and death in our nation's work zones. Simply slowing down and paying attention can and will save lives."
For further information on this campaign, please contact Ann Walls at (202) 366-6836 or Mike Robinson at (202) 366-2193. Also, for additional information, the National Work Zone Awareness Week Web site will be available through http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov.