Dear Roads & Bridges Readers,
I would like to give thanks to Roads & Bridges magazine
for once again allowing me an opportunity to share what the American Traffic
Safety Services Association (ATSSA) has been actively involved with recently.
It’s partnerships like this one that help accomplish our common
goal—to help make our nation’s roadways safer for all motorists by
reducing the number of injuries and fatalities on roadways and in work
During our 32nd Annual Convention and Traffic Expo in Dallas
this past February, Kathi Holst, president of NES Traffic Safety/ACCi in
Romeoville, Ill., accepted the ATSSA president’s gavel from outgoing
President Dennis “Chip” Sterndahl. Chip proudly led the association
for the two previous years while ATSSA continued to lead the advance of our
industry on Capitol Hill, in the national news media and in local communities
across the country.
Chip’s roots in the association began at the chapter
level prior to his attaining the highest position within the association. As
the president of the California chapter, Chip generated significant media
coverage by aggressively pursuing retroreflectivity, striping and signage
issues through press conferences on the Capitol steps in Sacramento and by
meeting regularly with state-elected officials. These efforts are
unquestionably leading to safer roads in California.
Also as ATSSA’s president Chip focused on government
relations activities, training, membership initiatives, chapter member
involvement and countless other activities and accomplishments.
Kathi came through the chapter ranks as well. As she stated
in remarks earlier this year, her goal is to strengthen and expand
ATSSA’s focus as the industry’s leader in roadway safety issues to
significantly reduce crashes, injuries and save lives on our nation’s
roadways. Again, this cannot be done without effective partnerships with other
organizations and agencies.
For example, in May Kathi led a discussion and workshop on
work-zone safety in Chicago during the Construction Safety Council and Center
to Protect Worker’s Rights conference. The focal points of her opening
remarks were better data collection in work zones when accidents occur, the
presence of law enforcement in work zones and other proposals covered in
ATSSA’s Roadway Safety Program (RSP).
As Chip and Kathi did, I urge ATSSA members to become
involved in ATSSA activities by becoming active members within their respective
chapters, or through involvement with one of our many committees. Member
involvement is the key to our success as a unified industry. For example, right
now all ATSSA technical committees are reviewing the Federal Highway
Administration’s proposed amendments to the MUTCD.
I encourage you to visit a committee meeting of your choice
at ATSSA’s Midyear Meeting in Washington, D.C. If you like what you see,
inquire about becoming a member. The Midyear Meeting will be conducted at the
Hyatt Regency Hotel on Sept. 18-21. The hotel is located on Capitol Hill.
Another event that involves many of our members is the
Annual Convention and Traffic Expo. In Dallas this past February, over 2,800
visitors came to the show floor to network with friends and peers as over 200
ATSSA members exhibited their lifesaving products in 500 booths. The New
Products Press Conference also allowed over 25 companies to demonstrate their
new products to the media in attendance. Roads & Bridges, in particular,
covered the event and published the products—and pictures—in a
recent edition. ATSSA will continue to conduct this press conference every
year, and members who have developed new products or services during calendar
year 2002 should plan on participating in the press conference in New Orleans
Mineta is with the program
Closer to home on Capitol Hill, Holst, ATSSA President-Elect
Tom McSwain and several others took ATSSA’s roadway safety message to the
Bush administration as we met with U.S. DOT Secretary Norm Mineta to discuss in
great detail ATSSA’s proposed RSP. The proposal calls for $3 billion a
year in roadway safety funding and emphasizes other key areas to focus on
during the reauthorization process of TEA-21. Secretary Mineta reinforced his
commitment to making safety and security the top priorities for all modes of
The ATSSA RSP also proposes that specific funding be
targeted to improving the areas of the roadway where the most people are killed
or injured. This includes two-lane rural roads and the country’s most
dangerous intersections. Special focus also is given to making the roadways
safer for older drivers and for workers in work zones. We need to prepare now
for the year 2020, when one in every five drivers will be over the age of 65.
Holst testified on the RSP at a special safety symposium held by the Senate
Environment and Public Works Committee on June 14.
The $3 billion annual funding for the RSP would come from
the transfer of the current 2.5 cents per gallon ethanol tax from the general
fund to the Highway Trust Fund, reinstatement of interest payments to the Trust
Fund and indexing of the federal motor fuel user fee. Monies collected above
the $3 billion level would be used for other roadway and bridge improvements
and for transit.
As this letter goes to press, nine organizations have
announced their support for ATSSA’s RSP. They are the American Glass Bead
Manufacturers Association, the National Association of County Engineers, the
International Mu-nicipal Signal Association, the Associated General Contractors
of Vermont, the American Subcontractors Association, the Fairfax, Va., County
Chamber of Commerce, the Citizens for Roadside Safety, the Hazelhurst (Miss.)
School District and Pathways of Virginia Inc. If you’d like to view or
download the 25-page RSP, it’s available at the “Important
Announcements” link of our website (www.atssa.com ).
Two superb ATSSA community relations programs are on line
and at work across the country.
The first is the American Traffic Safety Services Foundation
“Roadway Worker Memorial Scholarship” program. This program was
designed to assist families of those killed in our nation’s work zones.
The program provides scholarships of $2,000 directly to the school of the
During National Work Zone Awareness Week activities in
Maryland this past April, Congressman James L. Oberstar (D.-Minn.) announced
the first recipients of these scholarships. They were Angela M. Finch and
Trevor Davies—both of their fathers senselessly killed in work-zone
accidents. Both Angela and Trevor were in attendance.
You can help make a difference in a young person’s
life by contributing to this fund or by nominating a young student whose life
was affected by a tragic loss in a work zone. All the forms needed to do this
are available at the “ATSS Foundation” link of www.atssa.com . From
there, simply click on “Scholarship Programs.”
The second ATSSA community relations program well under way
is the National Work Zone Memorial, which also is administered by the
foundation. Seven hundred forty-four names currently appear on the
memorial—men, women and children—each killed in a work zone. The
memorial was dedicated and unveiled by Congressman Oberstar in April, then
traveled to New York, then Washington state and now to a dozen other locations
across the country to bring the message of work-zone safety to America’s
motor- ists year-round.
Some of the names on the memorial go as far back as the
1940s. However, most of the names are recent fatalities from a wide variety of
states and local jurisdictions across the country. The gathering of names
continues. I urge you to submit names as soon as possible. In January 2003, the
memorial will return to the East Coast where names gathered this year will be
If you are interested in hosting the 28-ft-long memorial, or
if you’d like to submit a name or become a sponsor, please contact Lisa
Kenney at 540/368-1701, ext. 110.
Leaders are made
This past April 16, ATSSA members spent 12 intense hours of
interactive discussion on leadership challenges, vision, values, creativity and
role modeling during ATSSA’s second annual Leadership Program. The group
also identified skills and characteristics of leaders, the future vision of
ATSSA and how that vision can be conveyed to their colleagues at the chapter and
The next session is scheduled for March 25-27, 2003, and you
are invited. Scholarships are available for those who require assistance with
travel and lodging. The point of contact for this event is Elaine Ottley.
Elaine can be reached at 540/368-1701, ext. 118.
The Leadership Program was held in conjunction with
ATSSA’s Annual Washington Visit. Participants in this program receive
valuable government relations training then meet with their elected
ATSSA member Robert “Bubba” Lee, for example,
met with Congressman Sonny Callahan’s staff (R.-Ala.), while both Steve
Spear and Peter Speer met with Congressman Jay Inslee (D.-Wash.). More than 100
similar visits were conducted on Capitol Hill in April, bringing ATSSA’s
roadway safety initiatives to elected officials, as well as what ATSSA members
are doing to help save lives through their lifesaving products and
Another visit to Capitol Hill is planned during the ATSSA
Midyear Meeting, Sept. 18-21. We need your participation as an industry member
to advance our industry’s message. For information, call Rob Dingess or
Elaine Ottley at 800/272-8772.
Doing business on Capitol Hill has become a No. 1 priority
for ATSSA. Because of this, ATSSA has opened a Capitol Hill office, located on
Pennsylvania Avenue, within a five-minute walk from both the House and Senate
Office Buildings. To contact ATSSA’s director of government relations,
Rob Dingess, directly at that office call 202/454-5246.
Finally, I cannot say enough about ATSSA training. Imagine
someone practicing a career without training—doctors, pilots,
firefighters, equipment operators. This is precisely the case for far too many
roadway workers, and as a result they are at serious risk for accidents and injuries.
ATSSA continues to lead the roadway safety industry with the
highest quality training provided by the most experienced instructors in the
industry. Our curriculum is constantly updated and evolving to suit your
Our new Guardrail Installation Training Course, for example,
is a popular success while both the Traffic Control Technician and Supervisor
Courses remain the courses of choice for men and women who make a living in our
nation’s work zones.
There are many more ATSSA courses available right now to
allow your workers to be trained and, more importantly, to be safe. The latest
national fatality figures in work zones—1,093—strongly suggests
there is a problem, and ATSSA has a key part of the solution. In addition to
our regular courses, we also maintain the National Flagger Database, offer
training in Spanish, have exciting certification programs and offer online
information, course descriptions and registration. Please contact ATSSA’s
director of training, Donna Clark, at 877/642-4637 to learn more.
The ATSSA staff and our members are excited about what lies
ahead for us in the years to follow. Following the Midyear Meeting, we begin
preparations for Traffic Expo and other key industry events that follow, and
we’ll keep you posted as these issues progress. We hope you’ll join
us in all we’re doing. If you have an idea on how we can do new
things—or do old things better—please don’t hesitate to
e-mail me at RogerW@ atssa.com. Your comments, concerns and suggestions are
important and we’re not afraid to take a chance on a good suggestion.
Roger A. Wentz
Executive Director, ATSSA
ATSSA continues to spread message and assist members