From the Desk of Executive Director Bryon Short
From the Desk of Executive Director Bryon Short - April 21, 2023
With warmer weather comes the start of the road construction season. The men and woman building our roads, bridges and highways are back working in construction zones while vehicles whiz past them. Today marks the end of National Work Zone Awareness Week (NWZAW). An annual campaign held each spring to encourage safe driving through road construction work zones.
In 1998, the Virginia DOT presented the idea of creating a national work zone safety campaign to the American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATTSA). The following year, ATSSA worked with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO) to create the first official National Work Zone Awareness Week. An agreement was developed between the organizations that outlined goals for NWZAW:
- Initiate efforts to raise awareness of the need for more caution when driving through work zones to decrease fatalities and injuries;
- Establish and promote a uniform set of safety tips;
- The value of training and importance of best practices in regard to work zone safety would be promoted among individuals in the private sector, industry, and roadway workers;
- Reach out to both roadway workers and contractors to communicate possible effects of motorists’ behavior in response to traffic delays, and advise on what steps might possibly be taken to lessen negative behavior; and
- Outreach efforts would be made to work with entities involved with work zone safety and to form partnerships.
The most recent highway work zone data estimated 106,000 work zone crashes in 2021 resulting in 42,000 work zone injuries and 956 work zone fatalities. As many of you know, there was an horrific incident in Maryland last month resulting in the deaths of six highway workers. I know our members are aware of the need to be ever vigilant in the work zone but its incumbent upon all of us in the construction industry to help spread the this important message.
Jamie Chambers, DCA Director of Workforce Development, has been doing her best to make sure DCA and its members are part of this effort. Hopefully you have seen Jamie’s social media posts throughout the week. Please take a moment to check out the NWZAW video she made on DCA’s Facebook page.
NWZAW is just one week of the year but we know the effort to keep our workers safe in the work zone is an every day effort. Thank you for always making safety a priority. Keep being safe out there!