"Roadway Work Zone Safety: We’re All in This Together,” is the theme of 2013 National Work Zone Awareness Week (NWZAW), which kicked-off today with a news conference at a road construction site near the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) Headquarters in Washington, D.C. The annual, week-long event raises awareness of the need to drive cautiously in work zones and calls on drivers to help protect highway workers during the busy construction season.
Manuel Rodrigues, vice president of Metro Paving Corp., the contractor managing the project, represented ARTBA at the event, during which victims and their families placed ceremonial black ribbons on orange safety cones and observed a moment of silence for those who lost their lives helping to build and repair U.S. roads.
Safety in roadway work zones is a serious, but often overlooked, public health issue, with an average of 600 people killed and nearly 40,000 injured annually in accidents at these sites. More than 100 of these fatalities are construction workers.
This year’s theme aims to reduce these numbers by highlighting the complexities of work zones, especially in urban areas, and the need for greater awareness and better planning on the part of everyone affected by work zones, including state agencies, road workers, drivers, bicyclists, motorcycles, pedestrians, emergency response, law enforcement and utility workers.