City employees step up safety awareness on streets following coworker's accident on the job

Linda K. Tucker, APR
Media & Communications Specialist
City of Sacramento, California

After raising $8,250 in private donations, City of Sacramento workers gave a big boost to the second "Work Zone Safety Awareness Month" by funding the campaign's first billboard and radio public service announcement aimed at slowing traffic and preventing vehicle accidents at city construction sites.

This year, the City renamed the campaign in memory of fellow City Transportation employee Tony Pontliana, who passed away in October 2006 from injuries he sustained when struck by a vehicle in a work zone in July 2004. The current official name for the campaign is the "Tony Pontliana Work Zone Safety Awareness Campaign."

National statistics indicate there is a work zone injury accident about every 13 minutes.

"The campaign speaks to the heart of drivers," said Gabriel Morales, a street supervisor, who along with a committee of City workers, devoted many hours of personal time to bring the campaign to Sacramento. "Construction activity in Sacramento has been and continues to be at an all-time high and there may be traffic congestion along with lane closures and detours. Those of us who work on the streets every day are at risk of being accident victims by drivers who may not be paying attention. We hope to get their attention with the 'Pleaze Slow Down' messages."

The Pleaze Slow Down messages, produced to resemble child-like writing, appear on signage displayed at construction sites and on City trucks. A "Mommy" version of the sign will also be posted at a smaller number of specific work sites.

In its initial research, the committee found the "Pleaze Slow Down" campaign has been implemented successfully in Washington, Illinois, Pennsylvania and other states. The committee recently applied for and is awaiting word on grant funding to further expand the campaign in 2008 and in years to come.

A photo of the billboard and copy of the radio spot are located at www.cityofsacramento.org/transportation. For more information, please contact the 2008 campaign chair LoAnna Hernandez at (916) 808-2005 or lhernandez@cityofsacramento.org.

Linda K. Tucker is the Media & Communications Specialist for the City of Sacramento, California. She can be reached at (916) 808-7523 or ltucker@cityofsacramento.org.