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'Work Zones are a Sign to Slow Down'

Support work zone safety during National Work Zone Awareness Week -- April 11-15

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FREDERICKSBURG, Va. (March 31, 2022) – The transportation industry is taking increasing steps to improve the timeliness of information about active work zones but even before those measures are available nationwide, work zone warnings are important for everyone to heed to get home safely.

This year’s National Work Zone Awareness Week is April 11-15 with the theme: “Work Zones are a Sign to Slow Down.”

National Work Zone Awareness Week (NWZAW), in its 22nd year, is a national public awareness campaign held annually at the start of the spring construction season. It spreads the message that we are all responsible for work zone safety.

ATSSA leading push against efforts to suspend gas taxes

Members urged to contact their elected representatives and voice their concerns

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ATSSA has launched a nationwide effort to discourage states and Congress from suspending the collection of taxes on gasoline noting the surge in roadway fatalities over the past two years.

Some in Congress and some in state governments across the country have proposed temporarily cutting gas taxes as a way to help consumers amid inflation and sudden hikes in gas prices. However, the temporary measure would not necessarily benefit consumers but would deter improvements to roadway infrastructure at a time when such projects had just received approval for significant funding, ATSSA President & CEO Stacy Tetschner noted.

The bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) became law in November and includes nearly $23 billion for roadway safety, funding necessary to help move the nation Toward Zero Deaths on its highways.

Federal and state taxes on gasoline and diesel are important sources of revenue for funding roadway safety improvements.

Prepare now for effective incident response

Planning for what you hope never happens is smart strategy, speaker says

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Preparing for an incident that may never happen could seem like a poor use of resources. But, if a serious injury or death takes place on the job, the investment will have been well worth it, Alex Kelly, CEO of Salt + Company, said today during a Worker Safety Webinar.

Today’s webinar, “Effective Incident Response,” covered the basics of how to prepare and important resources to have at hand in case a worker is seriously injured or killed on the job. This was the second of five free Worker Safety Webinars hosted by the ATSSA Training Department and its Roadway Worker Protection Council. The first webinar, “Road Safety 101,” was held Nov. 9.

All webinars are free and run from 2-3 p.m. ET.

‘Effective Incident Response’ webinar set for March 22

Registration is open for ATSSA’s second Worker Safety Webinar

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Prepare for effective incident response by attending the free March 22 Worker Safety Webinar hosted by the ATSSA Training Department and its Roadway Worker Protection Council.

This is the second in a series of five webinars, all of which are free and focus on learning ways to protect roadway workers.

“The goal of these webinars is to help our members protect their employees and to help prepare them in case a work zone incident occurs,” said ATSSA Vice President of Education and Technical Services Donna Clark. “Obviously, we never want any roadway worker to get injured but we’ve learned it’s better to be prepared and not need the skills than to be unprepared if the worst happens.”

ATSSA State Chapters Oppose Gas Tax Suspension Measures

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Three ATSSA chapters sent letters today opposing measures that would suspend state gas taxes during the ongoing crisis.

In Michigan, Pennsylvania and California, governors and state legislators have proposed temporarily halting their state’s gas tax in an attempt to provide relief to consumers at the pump. Unfortunately, it is unlikely that consumers will see a discernible decrease in the price of fuel should these measures become law. Instead, much-needed roadway safety improvement projects would be put at risk. ATSSA remains concerned with any federal or state legislation that would threaten critical infrastructure funding.

3M raises more than $15k through Toward Zero Deaths pledge wall

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3M raised $15,279 this year for The ATSS Foundation through its Toward Zero Deaths pledge wall.

The fundraiser ran from Jan. 1 through the final day of ATSSA’s 52nd Annual Convention & Traffic Expo.

“As the new ATSS Foundation Chair, I can't express enough how grateful I am for support from companies like 3M that share the vision with us to help families that have experienced such horrific work zone tragedies,” said Kevin Shelton. “3M’s yearslong commitment to hosting the pledge wall is a testament to its compassion for the families that have lost a loved one or had one permanently disabled by a work zone incident. It is also a testament to 3M’s commitment to working toward the goal of zero deaths on the nation’s roadways.”

ATSSA joins effort asking Congress to amend ARP to release relief funds

Groups seek ability to use allocated funds for transportation projects

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ATSSA joined the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) and 26 other groups asking leaders in the House and Senate to pass legislation that would amend the American Rescue Plan (ARP).

The groups sent a letter on Tuesday asking Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to act on legislation (S. 3011 and H.R. 5735) that would give states and localities greater flexibility to use a larger portion of ARP funds needed for transportation projects.

“The American Rescue Plan (ARP) provided states and localities with $350 billion in relief funds and $10 billion in capital improvement assistance at a time of critical need. The COVID-19 pandemic ripped a gaping hole in the budgets of many state and local governments, making this assistance crucial as the nation’s economic recovery continues,” the letter states.

It goes on to explain that more than $100 billion remains unobligated and yet “the funds lack the flexibility necessary for states and localities to address ongoing transportation needs.”

Biden highlights guardrails in State of the Union

Tetschner applauds focus on safety and infrastructure in congressional address

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In championing the passage of the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) in his State of the Union address Tuesday night, President Joe Biden specifically mentioned “highway guardrails” as a positive outcome of the legislation. This is apparently the first mention of guardrails in the history of these presidential addresses to Congress.

Additionally, Biden announced that the nation would start fixing “over 65,000 miles of highway and 1,500 bridges in disrepair.” That was in addition to 4,000 projects Biden said had already been announced.

ATSSA President & CEO Stacy Tetschner commended the emphasis on infrastructure and the specific reference to a proven lifesaving device produced by ATSSA members.

NSC estimates motor vehicle deaths increased 9% in 2021

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The National Safety Council (NSC) estimates total motor vehicle deaths for 2021 increased 9% over 2020 and that mileage rebounded by 11% from the low numbers seen during 2020 at the peak of the COVID-19 lockdowns, according to a report released this morning.

That projection is 3 points below last month’s traffic fatality projection released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and reported here. NHTSA’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) provides statistical projections for traffic fatalities nationwide, looking at the first nine months of the year in its report that provides an early estimate of motor vehicle traffic fatalities.

NSC estimates 46,020 motor vehicle deaths for all of 2021 compared to its 2020 estimate of 42,339 and its 2019 estimate of 39,107.