"It's not enough that the number of strikes has decreased in each of the last five years, because even one strike is too many," said Bob Kipp, president of the CGA.
In 2004, it was estimated that there were 450,000 instances of damage from striking underground lines. However, as a result of the work of CGA and its many supporters, that number has decreased by over 60 percent to 170,000 damages in 2009.
"Through our support of CGA and 811, we strengthen our commitment to our customers. Our customers are our first focus and this initiative saves lives," said Michael Mack, worldwide president, John Deere Construction & Forestry.
"Beyond personal safety concerns, the potential property damage, inconvenient service outages and the hefty fines to equipment operators resulting from digging accidents makes the 811 service incredibly valuable."
To further encourage safe digging, John Deere is also sharing portions of safety videos on YouTube beginning next month. The first video, featuring excavators, will be posted at http://www.YouTube.com/JohnDeere.
The FCC-designated 811 number was launched in 2007 by the CGA to eliminate the confusion of multiple call-before-you-dig numbers that were being used across the country. As a result, homeowners, farmers and contractors can call one easy-to-remember number to have crews mark a requested site for underground lines prior to any excavation.
Deere helped spread the word when the 811 number was first established in 2007 and has also been a driving force behind National 811 Day (each August 11) and the "Safe Digging Month" awareness campaign that occurs each spring. In addition to including information about 811 on its website, the company has featured the 811 logo prominently in its advertising and as part of its booth display during some of the construction industry's most prominent trade shows.
The DOT's Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration Administrator, Cynthia Quarterman, was also on hand at the bell-ringing event to lend support.
About John Deere
John Deere is a world leader in providing advanced products and services for agriculture, forestry, construction, lawn and turf care, landscaping and irrigation. John Deere also provides financial services worldwide and manufactures and markets engines used in heavy equipment.
Since it was founded in 1837, the company has extended its heritage of integrity, quality, commitment and innovation around the globe. John Deere Construction equipment & Forestry produces more than 120 machine models and distributes its construction, forestry and worksite products through a network of more than 1,300 dealer locations worldwide. For more information, visit www.JohnDeere.com.
The Common Ground Alliance is a national association created to prevent damage to underground utility infrastructure and ensure public safety and environmental protection. It has designated each April as "National Safe Digging Month."