California Department of Transportation employees, family members and guests recently took a moment to recognize and remember District 7 workers killed in the line of duty at its annual Workers Memorial event.
Statewide, Caltrans has lost 189 employees since 1921; 37 of those employees worked in District 7, which covers Los Angeles and Ventura counties.
“I remind our motorists that Caltrans workers are working for their benefit, so please watch out for our crews who are keeping the motoring public safe and ensuring our highway system is operating efficiently,” said District 7 Director John Bulinski. “Incidents involving our highway workers can be avoidable if motorists stay off their phones, keep their eyes on the road and be work zone alert.”
According to U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics, highway construction and maintenance work is one of the most hazardous occupations in the United States.
In 2018, more than 7,000 work-zone collisions occurred on California roadways. About 2,300 resulted in injuries, and 46 involved a fatality. Nationally, drivers and passengers account for 85 percent of the people killed in work zones.
Drivers can dramatically improve safety in work zones by slowing down, avoiding texting and talking on the phone, and complying with the Move Over law, which requires motorists to move over if it is safe to do so or slow down when approaching vehicles displaying flashing amber warning lights, including Caltrans vehicles.
Caltrans will also be promoting the “Be Work Zone Alert” messaging campaign on freeway changeable message signs in Southern California.