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Transportation Partners Designate April 3-7 Work Zone Safety Week

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government

Transportation Partners Designate April 3-7 Work Zone Safety Week

Federal Highway Administration
December 15, 1999

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, December 15, 1999
Contacts: FHWA, Virginia Miller, 202-366-0660
ATSSA, James Baron, (800) 272-8772, ext. 113
AASHTO, Thomas Schulz, (202) 624-5838
FHWA 79-99

To help reduce fatalities and injuries in highway construction areas, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATSSA), and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) today signed an agreement to designate April 3-7 as the National Work Zone Safety Awareness Week.

FHWA Administrator Kenneth R. Wykle, ATSSA Executive Director Roger A. Wentz and AASHTO President Thomas R. Warne signed the document.

In the past decade more than 8,000 fatalities were reported in work zones. Fatalities in 1998 rose to 772, reversing a three-year decline in work zones fatalities from 1995-1997. Approximately 37,000 people were injured in work zones in 1998.

"This agreement underscores our commitment to safety which is President Clinton’s highest transportation priority," U.S. Secretary of Transportation Rodney E. Slater said. "This new safety partnership will help save lives and prevent injuries in work zones."

The signing of this agreement between the three organizations provides the framework for action in implementing the nationwide awareness week which will seek to increase awareness of work zone safety among the driving public and construction workers and generate dialog among highway program managers in the public and private sectors.

"FHWA is committed to working with our safety partners to improve work zone safety and to reduce the number of crashes and fatalities on our nation’s highways," Wykle said. "We have one of the safest highway systems in the world, but we must make it even safer for highway workers and motorists."

The goals and objectives of today’s memorandum of understanding are as follows:

  • Increase public awareness of the need for greater caution and care while driving through work zones to reduce fatalities and injuries in work zones.
  • Establish and promote a common set of "safety tips" for motorists.
  • Increase public sector, industry, and worker awareness of the value of training and best practices regarding work zone safety.
  • Establish a nationwide program for promoting work zone safety.
  • Communicate to workers and contractors the effects of motorists frustration with delays on their driving behavior, and suggest possible actions to alleviate that behavior.
  • Engage as partners interested parties involved in work zone safety.

    "Safety is a top concern to AASHTO’s member departments, and far too many fatalities and injuries occur in work zones each year," Warne said. "AASHTO is dedicated to this effort to inform the public of the problem, and to educate drivers on how to get through work zones in order to ensure their safety and that of the highway workers."

    "Roadway work zones are a way of life in every community across America. Motorists need to be aware of them and the workers within them," Wentz said. "If drivers would simply slow to posted speed limits in work zones, disengage from distracting activities such as cellular phone usage, and be aware of the workers, countless lives would be saved."

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