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Work Zone Accident Victims Remembered

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WDOT Memorial ConeThe Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) held its annual ceremony on Monday to remember those CDOT employees who have died on the job. Since 1923, there have been 23 fatalities caused by work zone-related accidents.

Annual Remembrance Day is observed statewide in conjunction with National Work Zone Awareness Week, and this is its seventh year. Lori Obert, a writer for 9 News, brings us an official CDOT statement:

‘Each employee we have lost was an important member of our team and we are here today to make sure that we don’t forget their contribution to our organization and as individuals,’ Pam Hutton, chief engineer with CDOT, said.

Of these 23 work zone fatalities, six have occurred since 2000. The Valley Courier reports on the numbers nationwide:

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, 85-90% of all work zone fatalities are motorists and occupants.

In 2009, there were 667 fatalities and more than 30,000 injuries as a result of work zone crashes nationwide.

The Valley Courier report continues:

To put these numbers in perspective:

  • Nearly two people are killed and 84 are injured every day in highway work zones.
  • In a typical five day-day work week, an average of eight motorists and one highway worker are killed.
  • An average of seven people are injured in a work zone every two hours.

There are 150 projects on Colorado state and interstate highways scheduled this year, not including maintenance work zones. And since almost nine out of ten fatalities are motorists rather than CDOT workers, it’s a good idea to exercise extra caution anywhere you find yourself driving near road work. Pay attention to signs and workers with flags. Don’t tailgate because it leaves you with no response time if something happens. Slow down and be patient. Be aware of your surroundings and be prepared for sudden and unexpected situations.

Image by Mauigirl2011, used under its Creative Commons license.

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