The Colorado Department of Transportation held its annual observance of Remembrance Day on April 18, honoring the 62 employees who have died in the line of duty since 1929. Joining CDOT were representatives from the Colorado State Patrol, Federal Highway Administration and Colorado Contractors Association.

“Remembrance Day not only honors our fallen colleagues, it also serves as an important reminder to those traveling the state's roadways to make safety their first priority,” said CDOT Executive Director Shoshana Lew. “With the road construction season upon us, it's imperative that those who are constructing and maintaining our highways remain safe while they work. Please remember that a person's life is priceless, a traffic slowdown is a minor inconvenience.”

Remembrance Day is held in conjunction with National Work Zone Awareness Week. This year's theme: "Work Zones are temporary. Actions behind the wheel can last forever.”

“According to the Patrol's citation data, troopers issued at least one speeding ticket in a designated low-speed zone in 48 out of Colorado's 64 counties last year,” stated Col. Matthew C. Packard, chief of the Colorado State Patrol. “Our road workers are counting on you to stay alert and slow down so they can go home at the end of the day. Currently, motorists are failing these vulnerable populations.”

In 2023, there were 15 crashes, resulting in 16 fatalities in Colorado construction and maintenance work zones.

“Each of us owe our blue-collar heroes the chance to safely do their jobs in construction zones. We rely on these workers to improve our commutes and make our lives better and these day's it has become more obvious how much we need those willing to get outside and work with their hands,” said Colorado Contractors Association President and CEO Tony Milo. “These people work hard to provide for their loved ones and to build a better Colorado for all who live here. By slowing down in cone zones, paying attention, and obeying the signs, motorists can help ensure that all these workers get home safely at the end of the day. Speeding and distracted driving causes too many tragic accidents. Every one of these accidents are avoidable and it takes each one of us to make safety a priority in the cone zones.

Nationally, approximately 106,000 crashes occurred in work zones in 2021 (most recent data available). It included 956 fatalities and an estimated 42,000 injuries. While highway workers are at great risk every day, it is just as critical for motorists to be safe and responsible in work zones. In fact, four out of five work zone fatalities are people driving through work zones, not highway workers.

“Keeping work zones safe is critical for all of us,” said FHWA's Colorado Division Administrator John Cater. “When driving through work zones, we all have to slow down and pay attention to keep the workers safe and for our own safety as well.”

CDOT averages between 175 and 200 projects on its roadways each year, not including maintenance projects. When driving through a work zone, fines for most infractions are doubled.