Maintaining Focus on Roadway Worker Protection: The National Work Zone Memorial

The National Work Zone Memorial

The American Traffic Safety Services Foundation (The ATSS Foundation) offers the National Work Zone Memorial honoring lives lost in work zones to help make fatalities “real” to policymakers and drivers. Originally unveiled in April 2002, the National Work Zone Memorial is a living tribute to the memory of lives lost in work zones. The Memorial is promoted as the Respect and Remembrance: Reflections of Life on the Road program. The Memorial travels to communities cross-country, year-round to raise public awareness of the need to respect and stay safe in America’s roadway work zones.

Currently, there are 1,602 names represented on the National Work Zone Memorial. Since no definitive national record exists of those killed in work zones, Memorial organizers must rely on the annual submissions of state departments of transportation and other verifiable sources for new names. Names are added to the Memorial each year through the efforts of family, friends and former co-workers who submit them to The ATSS Foundation. The Memorial includes the names of roadway workers as well as motorists, pedestrians, law enforcement officers, firefighters, paramedics, and children.

Why Greater Attention Is Needed Today for Roadway Worker Protection

Immediate attention is warranted to increased roadway worker protection. Data released in May 2022 by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) showed overall fatality rates on roadways increased by 10.5% in 2021 over 2020. NHTSA reported this was a 16 year high in roadway fatalities. Increases were seen in fatalities attributable to speeding, crashes during daytime and weekends, multi-vehicle crashes, in police-reported, alcohol-involvement crashes, and crashes involving at least one large truck.

According to the American Road and Transportation Builders of America (ARTBA), more than 850 people were killed and 44,000 injured in roadway work zone accidents in 2020. This was the highest number in two decades. Moreover, ARTBA estimates there will be an additional 4,000 new construction projects incepting over the next two years with new project funding under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) 2022 annual work zone survey revealed that 64% of highway contractors reported motor vehicles had crashed into their construction work zones during the past year.

ATSSA’s Roadway Worker Protection Council

The American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATSSA) formed the Roadway Worker Protection Council in 2021 to demonstrate leadership the importance of expanding physical and psychological safety for all roadway workers. The Chairperson of the Council is Doug Dolinar, President of Guidemark, Inc., a pavement marking contractor based in Souderton, PA. Dolinar asserted the Council was formed “to find ways to protect vulnerable workers with boots on the ground and to also provide help when an incident does happen.”

The members of this Council are passionately outspoken advocates for roadway worker protection. Dolinar summarizes the challenge for roadway work zone contractors, “Even though the industry provides alert drivers with more than sufficient advance warning of construction activities ahead, the unique hazard created by distracted and impaired drivers needs to be mitigated. The growing scourge of distracted and impaired driving is killing more highway workers each year.”

ATSS Foundation Scholarship Program

The ATSS Foundation provides scholarships for loved ones of fallen or permanently disabled roadway workers. The Roadway Memorial Scholarship program provides financial assistance for post-high school education to dependents (children and spouses) of roadway workers killed or permanently disabled in roadway work zones. The ATSS Foundation will help ensure that their dependents’ academic dreams will continue. The program is competitive and has a value of up to $10,000.

Applicants who demonstrate a strong commitment to volunteerism may be eligible to receive an additional $1,000 in honor of Chuck Bailey, who was an esteemed member of the roadway safety industry who passed away in June 2002. The scholarship program has awarded $420,000 since its inception in 2002.

The ATSS Foundation provides grief counseling to children who have lost a family member or caregiver in a roadway work zone incident through the Experience Camp Travel Scholarship program. Experience Camps are free summer camps held across the country designed to help children reframe their experience of grief and develop invaluable coping skills to move forward with their lives. The Foundation covers travel expenses for the camper to attend an Experience Camp including the travel expenses for their guardian.

How to Request the National Work Zone Memorial for an Event in Your Community

The Memorial exists in two formats: a physical Memorial that is 20 feet wide and 7 feet tall and a virtual Memorial. Both are available for display at events that seek to heighten attention to work zone safety. The Foundation encourages public agencies, organizations, and industry leaders to host the traveling or virtual Memorial. The traveling Memorial is available for a fee that covers the expenses of shipping and maintenance. The 30-minute virtual Memorial video is a powerful yet cost-effective option for groups with limited space and resources. The virtual Memorial can be used at both in-person and virtual meetings. Complete the traveling Memorial host application or the virtual Memorial host application to reserve the Memorial for an upcoming event.


American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATSSA). National Work Zone Memorial.

American Traffic Safety Services Foundation (ATSS Foundation). Roadway Worker Memorial Scholarship Program. Videos from Recipients.

American Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA). April 13, 2022. Public & Private Sectors Expand Safety Services with Launch of New Roadway Work Zone Clearinghouse Website.

Associated General Contractors of America. (AGC). May 25, 2022. Sixty-Four Percent of Firms Working On Highway Upgrades Experienced Cars Crashing Into Their Work Zone During The Past Year, New Data Finds.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. May 22, 2022. Newly Released Estimates Show Traffic Fatalities Reached a 16-Year High in 2021.

About the Authors

Cal Beyer

Cal Beyer, CWP, is Vice President of Risk, Safety & Mental Wellbeing for ethOs, a Holmes Murphy company.

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Kevin Shelton

Kevin Shelton is the President of C-Hawkk Construction Inc. in Eudora, KS, a leading traffic control and pavement marking contractor in metro Kansas City.

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