SPOKANE, Wash. — They are stationed at most highways and byways of the Palouse right
now as roads are being readied for fall and winter — troops of hard-hatted, flag-bearing,
fluorescent-garbed workers for whom signs read: “Give ’em a brake!” Now, Washington State
University will help highway workers learn to avoid the perils of road rage.
As many as 250 such road and street maintenance personnel are expected to gather in
Spokane Oct. 4-7 for the 37th Annual Road and Street Maintenance Supervisors’ School, and
another 350 will attend in Tacoma Dec. 6-8.
This year’s school, sponsored by WSU, will be prefaced at both sessions with a “Traffic
Solutions” workshop. It is geared for those who sign, stripe or flag on roads, and whose daily
work may incur the wrath of impatient or aggressive drivers.
This year, hundreds of thousands of U.S. road and street workers will put their own safety
on the line to improve others’ drives. They risk injury and even fatality, as well as daily abuse. In
1996, according to the American Traffic Safety Services Association, more than 37,000 were
injured and 719 killed in work zone accidents in the U.S. More than 80 percent of these statistics
involved a passing motorist.
Les Pope, program manager for the Washington Traffic Safety Commission, will present tips
at the Traffic Solutions workshop on dealing with road rage and improving workplace safety in
construction zones. Darlene Sharar, traffic technology engineer from the Washington
Technology Transfer Center, will tell how fatalities might be reduced by as much as 60 percent
through appropriate signing, striping and road engineering.
The Road and Street conference will include workplace personnel issues, environmental
issues, concrete pavement repair, maintenance and ditching spoils, Y2K and emergency
response, maintenance equipment, and more.
The October event will be held at the DoubleTree Hotel Spokane Valley, and the December
event is at the Sheraton Tacoma Hotel.
For more details, see or contact
Washington State University’s Conferences & Institutes at 800/942-4978 or