Original article published by USDOT
WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) announced strategic communication partnerships with NASCAR, Arizona 811 and other states, and the National Volunteer Fire Council. During the month of April, National Safe Digging Month, the partnership will focus on increasing awareness among Americans about the importance of contacting “811” before doing any digging on their property. The public can contact 811 by phone or by visiting Call811.com.
“Whether you’re doing construction on your property or simply putting in a new mailbox, digging without contacting 811 can have serious consequences for your family and community,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “This National Safe Digging Month, and every month, remember to always contact 811 before you dig.”
In 2005, “811” became the national one-call number connecting homeowners, contractors, and other professionals to state call centers to arrange the marking of underground utilities in areas for any planned, digging projects. Since 2007, governors across the country officially proclaimed April as Safe Digging Month to reduce damage to underground utilities caused by digging – a leading cause of serious pipeline incidents that can be prevented by contacting “811”. State laws also require contacting “811” at least two days prior to beginning any digging project, no matter how large or small.
The “Call 811” message will be displayed on NASCAR vehicle, fire and pit crew suits, and other placements in more than 30 races during the 2023 season of the NASCAR Xfinity Series. Additionally, the National Volunteer Fire Council will promote free excavation damage incident training resources to first responders through a 30-second ad on streaming service Spotify.
“Incidents caused by unsafe digging put workers, the public, and first responders at risk—that’s why we’re partnering with NASCAR and states from across the country to raise the public’s awareness about this important safety issue,” said PHMSA Deputy Administrator Tristan Brown.
The most recent version of the Common Ground Alliance’s Damage Information Reporting Tool (DIRT) report identified more than 192,000 damages to underground facilities caused by unsafe digging in 2021.
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