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Publication Number:      Date:  May/June 2001
Issue No: Vol. 65 No. 3
Date: May/June 2001


National Work-Zone Awareness Week Commemorated Across The Nation

by Ann Walls

The second annual National Work-Zone Awareness Week (NWZAW) was held April 9 to 12, 2001, and the theme of this year's awareness campaign was "Enhancing Safety and Mobility in Work Zones." The campaign, which included activities in 45 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, was well-received throughout the country.

A few specific examples of campaign activities are provided in this article. For a more complete report, visit the Web site (http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/) for the Safety Core Business Unit of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).

Washington Monument with Traffic Cones in front.
Each orange traffic cone represents one of the 868 people killed in work zones in the United States during 1999.

FHWA, along with its partners, held a kick-off media event on the grounds of the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C., on April 9. The event included a sobering display of 868 highway cones, each draped with a black ribbon; each cone represented a worker or motorist killed in a work-zone-related crash in 1999.

"The field of cones, each symbolizing a preventable death in a work zone, reminds us of the real people who were part of crews working to improve our roads. Most of the cones remind us of people like you, just driving through until something went terribly wrong," said Vincent Schimmoller, FHWA deputy executive director.

Other participants in the D.C. event included: the American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATSSA), American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, International Safety Equipment Association, Associated General Contractors of America, American Road and Transportation Builders Association, National Safety Council, Laborers' Health and Safety Fund of North America, Georgia Department of Transportation (DOT), Maryland DOT, North Carolina DOT, and Virginia DOT.

In Connecticut, the FHWA Connecticut Division Office, the Connecticut DOT

(ConnDOT), the Connecticut Department of Public Safety, and the Connecticut Construction Industries Association (CCIA) sponsored a variety of activities for the week. ConnDOT created a poster ("Pleaze Slow Down, My Daddy Works Here") that was distributed to construction and trucking associations, schools, driver education centers, highway rest areas, public rooms in offices of the Department of Motor Vehicles, airports, train stations, truck stops, town halls, libraries, and colleges. Posters were also displayed on buses and billboards.

ConnDOT purchased advertising on television and radio; many radio stations aired the spots following their traffic reports. "Slow Down for Work Zones" was flashed statewide on variable message signs, and special work-zone safety messages were broadcast on ConnDOT's highway advisory radio stations. The University of Connecticut showed work-zone safety videotapes at the Connecticut Transportation Institute and at the beginning of every engineering class. A work-zone awareness information booth was set up at the annual conference of Connecticut's Bituminous Concrete Producers Association.


A morning at Montana's capitol was devoted to work-zone awareness. The Montana Contractors Association, the Montana DOT, the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) Laborer's Union Local, 3M Corp., and FHWA had work-zone materials on display in the rotunda of the state capitol in Helena on April 9, 2001. Officials from the partnering organizations greeted state legislators, visitors, and touring school children and provided information on work-zone practices and public safety.

In Florida, a mock work-zone display was set up by local vendors in partnership with the Florida Transportation Builders Association, ATSSA, Florida DOT, and FHWA. It included variable message signs, highway advisory radio, and a radar speed trailer. A display booth in the capitol rotunda reached hundreds of people, including state legislators and touring groups of elementary school students. Similar displays were in all seven Florida DOT districts, at state DOT headquarters, and at welcome centers. Gov. Jeb Bush issued a proclamation recognizing the importance of the event.

Coneman character.
The message of NWZAW was disseminated in many ways, including posters; signs; and animated characters, such as "Coneman".

In Puerto Rico, the Highway and Transportation Authority, the Traffic Safety Commission, and the division offices of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and FHWA also sponsored a program with many activities. The NWZAW poster was translated into Spanish, and local logos were added. A flyer was prepared (in Spanish) with 10 safety tips for drivers when driving in a work zone. All printed material was distributed through regional construction offices, field offices, and motor vehicle registration offices. An article announcing NWZAW and its activities was published in a newspaper. The executive director of the Traffic Safety Commission was interviewed on television and radio regarding the NWZAW activities. A one-day work-zone safety seminar was provided for construction and maintenance personnel during the week.

The North Carolina DOT held three kickoff ceremonies for NWZAW. The events took place in Wilmington, Raleigh, and Salisbury. The slogan for these events was "Speed a Little, Lose a Lot." The N.C. secretary of transportation was the featured speaker at these events.

In California, a kick-off event was held at the capitol with a display of 157 cones. Each cone represented a maintenance worker who was killed in a work zone in the state since 1924. A new training video, "A Safe Place to Work," was released to help improve safety by showing proper traffic control in work zones.

Ann Walls is a marketing specialist in FHWA's Safety Core Business Unit. She is a member of the American Marketing Association. She received a bachelor's degree in business management (with an emphasis in marketing) from the University of Maryland.



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