9th Annual Remembrance Day Held in Conjunction with National Work Zone Awareness Week

April 15, 2013 - Statewide Transportation Plan - STATEWIDE – Today, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) held its 9th 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 15-19, 2013.

“With the heart of construction season near, this is a great opportunity to remember our fallen and to highlight a very important highway safety matter,” said CDOT Executive Director Don Hunt. “We often forget that the men and women behind the cones are our family, friends, sons, daughters, mothers and fathers and we should drive through construction zones with the care you would expect if it were your own child. We all play an important role in work zone safety and by eliminating distractions and reducing speeds, we can make our work zones safer.”

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, four out of five work zone fatalities are motorists, not highway workers.

Each year, about 550 people die and more than 35,000 people are injured in work zone crashes nationwide. To think about it a different way:

  • One work zone injury occurs every 14 minutes or four every hour
  • One fatality occurs every 15 hours
  • More than 20,000 workers are injured in work zones each year

In Colorado last year (2012), preliminary statistics show there were 940 work zone crashes, resulting in 108 injuries and eight 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.

This year, there will be about 175 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. Schedule enough time to drive safely
  9. Be patient and stay calm

To help motorists plan ahead, you can download CDOT Mobile from your app store or you can sign up for e-mail and text messages. 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 website 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.