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Maria Robertson
/ Categories: FHWA, NWZAW, Work Zones

National Work Zone Awareness Week official kickoff hosted by MoDOT

The National Work Zone Awareness Week (NWZAW) kickoff event today was hosted by the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT), and held overlooking the new Lance Cpl. Leon Deraps Interstate 70 westbound bridge over the Missouri river near Rocheport, Mo. 

During this year’s NWZAW, Gloria Shepherd, executive director for the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) joined MoDOT officials in reminding drivers to keep highway workers safe as construction season.

“We intend to use every program and funding option at our disposal under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to make our surface transportation safer including in areas where repairs, maintenance and construction are underway,” Shephered said. “The safety of highway workers and others on roads, bridges and highways across the country is FHWA’s number one priority.”

NWZAW is an annual event held each spring as the roadway construction season begins. The purpose is to bring attention to the importance of work zone safety and the risks—not only for roadway workers but also for motorists and their passengers. Statistics show most people killed in work zone incidents are motorists and the people in their vehicles.

This year’s NWZAW national kickoff organized by MoDOT used the  theme “You play a role in work zone safety. Work with us,” and each presentation at today’s event emphasized that point and paid tribute to the lives lost.

Among the speakers were Nicole Ebker-Herbel and Kelby Herbel, daughter and granddaughter of fallen MoDOT worker, Lyndon Ebker.  They shared their story and how they have worked to keep his memory alive. 

Lyndon Ebker, a 30-year employee of the MoDOT was struck and killed while working in a Franklin County work zone by an inattentive motorist.

In 2019, a bill, more commonly known as “Lyndon’s Law” authorized the Missouri Department of Revenue to revoke the driver’s license of anyone who strikes a highway or utility worker in a work zone or an emergency responder in an emergency zone.

Fatalities in roadway work zones increased nearly 11% from 2020 to 2021, with deaths rising from 863 to 956, according to newly released federal data. Drivers and passengers accounted for 778 of the 956 fatalities for 2021, data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) shows.

The latest data recently released and can be found here: National Work Zone Safety Information Clearinghouse.

NWZAW also includes:

  • April 17 – Work Zone Safety Training Day in which companies are encouraged to pause during the workday for safety demonstrations, discussions about safety policies and other prevention steps to protect people in work zones.
  • April 19 – Go Orange Day when everyone is encouraged to wear orange to show support for work zone safety and the families of victims who have lost their lives in work zones. Photos can be posted on social media with #NWZAW and #Orange4Safety.
  • April 20 – Social media storm in which organizations, companies, agencies and individuals are encouraged to share messages and use hashtags #NWZAW and #WorkZoneSafety throughout social media between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. EDT.
  • April 21 – Moment of Silence. People are encouraged to take part in this new event for 2022 to remember the people who lost their lives in a work zone incident.

This event concluded with remarks from MoDOT Director Patrick McKenna with the reminder that we each play a role and that you as a driver can make the crucial difference between life and death.  Please work with us.

A recording of the event is available for viewing.

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