8th Annual Remembrance Day Held in Conjunction With National Work Zone Awareness Week

April 24, 2012 - Statewide Transportation Plan - STATEWIDE – Today, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) held its 8th 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 23-27, 2012. The national theme for the week is “Don’t barrel through work zones. Drive smart to stay alive.”

“Remembrance Day and National Work Zone Awareness Week are great opportunities to not only honor the fallen, but to also remember that as motorists, we all play a role in keeping our work zones safe,” said CDOT Chief Engineer Tim Harris.  “We must not forget that there are people behind the cones and barrels and we need to respect the work zone as well as the people working in them. If we all do our part to be safe and responsible drivers, we can make our work zones safer for everyone.”

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% of all work zone fatalities are motorists and occupants.

Each year, about 600 people die and more than 37,000 people are injured in work zone crashes nationwide.  That means, in a typical five-day work week, an average of seven motorists and one highway worker are killed.

In Colorado last year (2011), preliminary statistics show there were 830 work zone crashes, resulting in 96 injuries and 10 fatalities, many of which could have been prevented. This doesn’t even include the many close calls that our highway workers experience on a regular basis.

“The most common type of work zone crash is a rear-end collision, which often occurs due to distractions such as cell phones and radios; speeding; and inattentive driving,” said Captain Jeff Goodwin with the Colorado State Patrol.  “By reducing distractions, slowing down and respecting the construction signs and workers in a cone zone, we can reduce the number of work zone crashes and related injuries and fatalities.”

This year, there will be about 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

  1. Obey road crew flaggers
  2. Stay alert and minimize distractions
  3. Schedule enough time to drive safely
  4. 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."