7th Annual Remembrance Day Held in Conjunction with National Work Zone Awareness Week

April 4, 2011 - Statewide Transportation Plan - STATEWIDE – Today, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) held its 7th Annual Remembrance Day ceremony statewide to honor the 58 employees who have died in the line of duty since 1929.

The ceremony is held every year in conjunction with National Work Zone Awareness Week, which this year is April 4-8, 2011.

“Remembrance Day not only allows us to honor our fallen employees, but it also renews our focus on work

zone safety,” said CDOT Executive Director Don Hunt.  “As we near a very busy construction season, it is important for our employees as well as the traveling public to increase their awareness of work zones and safe driving practices.”

Since 1929, CDOT has lost 23 employees in work zone related accidents with six of those taking place between 2000-2010.  The most recent work zone fatality took place in 2009 when CDOT lost one employee in a work zone accident near Pueblo.

While highways workers are at great risk every day, it is just as critical for motorists to be safe and responsible in work zones.  In fact, 85-90% of all work zone fatalities are motorists and occupants.

In 2009, there were 667 fatalities and more than 30,000 injuries as a result of work zone crashes nationwide.  To put these numbers in perspective:

  • Nearly two people are killed and 84 are injured every day in highway work zones.
  • In a typical five day-day work week, an average of eight motorists and one highway worker are killed.
  • An average of seven people are injured in a work zone every two hours.

In Colorado, there were 11 work zones fatalities in 2009 and 11 in 2010.  While this number is not excessively high, it still represents the lives of 11 individuals who could have possibly been saved had safe driving practices been carried forth.

“When motorists are alert, observe signs, maintain the posted speed limit and pay attention to traffic patterns and roadway changes, the safety of everyone is enhanced,” said John Cater, Division Administrator for the Federal Highway Administration.  “If each and every one of us is safe and responsible behind the wheel, we can make our highways much safer for motorists as well as highway workers and prevent many of these senseless deaths.”

This year, there will be over 150 projects on state highways and Interstates, not including maintenance work zones.  Motorists should be advised that fines for most infraction that occur in a work zone will be doubled. To help keep Colorado’s roads and work zones safe, motorists should keep these tips in mind:

  1. Expect the unexpected
  2. Slow down
  3. Don't tailgate
  4. Keep a safe distance between you and the car ahead of you
  5. Pay attention to and obey all work zone/advisory signs- conditions can change on a daily basis with new alignments or narrowed lanes
  6. Obey road crew flaggers
  7. Stay alert and minimize distractions
  8. Keep up with traffic flow
  9. Schedule enough time to drive safely
  10. Be patient and stay calm

To help motorists plan ahead, CDOT is offering an e-mail and text message service that is free of charge.  Motorists can receive updates on road conditions, construction projects and other CDOT news.  Signing up to receive updates is easy and free (standard text messaging rates apply) and can be completed in three simple steps.

1. Visit our Web site at www.coloradodot.info and click on the icon in upper right corner entitled "Sign up for Email and Wireless Alerts."

2. Enter your e-mail address and decide if you want your account password protected and if you want to receive e-mail, text alerts or both (not all items are available as a text alert).

3. First time subscribers are then presented with a list of all subscription items available. All you have to do is select the updates you want to receive and hit "Submit."

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Note:  For more information on work zone safety, please visit http://www.coloradodot.info/programs/cone-zone.

Photo 1- CDOT Executive Director Don Hunt discusses the importance of Remembrance Day and National Work Zone Awareness Week.

Photo 2- Chief Engineer Pam Hutton and CDOT Executive Director Don Hunt join CDOT employees in a moment of silence in honor of the 58 CDOT employees who have lost their lives in the line of duty.