California Department of Transportation employees, family members and guests took a moment to recognize and remember District 7 workers killed in the line of duty at its annual Workers Memorial event Thursday.
Statewide, Caltrans has lost 189 employees since 1921; 37 of those employees worked in District 7, which covers Los Angeles and Ventura counties.
“These ceremonies serve as an opportunity to remind motorists that highway workers are husbands, wives, parents, brothers, sisters and neighbors,” said Caltrans District 7 Director Tony Tavares. “We want the public to understand what we mean by ‘Slow for the Cone Zone,’ ‘Be Work Zone Alert’ and ‘Move Over – It’s the Law.’ Please be cautious and considerate and remember the PEOPLE working here as you drive past these vital construction and maintenance work zones.”
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, highway construction and maintenance work is one of the most hazardous occupations in the United States. In 2020, more than 6,500 work zone collisions occurred on California roadways, resulting in an estimated 1,964 injuries and 60 fatalities. Nationally, drivers and passengers account for 85 percent of the people who are 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 has partnered with the California Transportation Foundation to develop two funds to benefit the families of Caltrans workers killed on the job. The Fallen Workers Assistance and Memorial Fund helps with the initial needs a surviving family faces and the Caltrans Fallen Workers Memorial Scholarship is available to the children of these workers. For more information or to make donations, visit the California Transportation Foundation at https://www.the-ctf.org/.