Transportation departments raise awareness
of workzone safety on highways
State departments of transportation throughout the country looked a little orange recently. In recognition of the 10th annual National Workzone Awareness Week, DOTs across the nation held press conferences, video competitions, and lit up buildings and monuments in orange to raise awareness of the importance of responsible workzone driving habits.
In Tennessee, high-school students competed in the "Project Orange Video Contest," which promotes safe driving practices for teens. The Tennessee Department of Transportation received 76 entries from across the state. The winning video aired on state TV stations and is available at www.tdot.state.tn.us/wzsafety. TDOT also marked the event by lighting the district offices in orange, the signature color of traffic cones and safety vests.
The Mississippi Department of Transportation raised awareness of workzone safety at a press conference April 2 in Jackson.
"Safety should be considered first, every time and at every stage of a project," said MDOT Executive Director Butch Brown, AASHTO’s vice president.
"This year I challenge everyone, as you drive through a workzone, remember to drive to survive. It is very important that we keep our workzones safe for both workers and fellow motorists. As we make a commitment today to work together to save lives, remember that workers are at a great risk of death and injury every day and their goal is to improve and maintain our highway system."
The Indiana Department of Transportation honored fallen highway worker Mark Shepherdson at a workzone safety media event April 8 in Indianapolis. Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman extended her sympathies to the families of workers killed on the job.
"I wish with all my heart we were here to celebrate a year with no accidents, no injuries, no deaths at any of Indiana’s workzones," Skillman said. "But instead we have another painful reminder to slow down and pay attention on the road."
Traffic cones, representing each of the 14 deaths in Indiana workzones over the last 15 months, were on display at the Indiana Government Center.
For the third consecutive year, the Missouri Department of Transportation participated in "Project Orange," lighting buildings, landmarks, and fountains orange to raise awareness for workzone safety. There were 100 participating locations across the state. MoDOT came up with the idea in 2006 and it has since caught on across the country. Photos are available at tinyurl.com/MoDOTprojectorange.
In cooperation with Missouri gas station owners, "pump toppers" with the message "Don't Barrel Through Workzones" could be found at pumps across the state.
The Ohio Department of Transportation heightened awareness by illuminating state DOT headquarters in orange. To remind drivers to "slow down for the cone zone," 15 construction cones were placed at locations across the state, each cone representing one of the workzone fatalities that occurred last year in the Buckeye State.