JEFFERSON CITY - When motorists refuse to pay attention on the roadway, especially in work zones, too often they pay a high price because of a crash. This price might be paid in the form of property damage, or worse an injury or fatality.
Jefferson City Senior Maintenance Worker Scott Campbell experienced a crash first hand as a driver in a slow-moving mobile work zone last spring. He tells his crash story in a brief video designed to ask motorists to pay attention and avoid distracted driving. The video can be found at https://youtu.be/PEprYuuDVUA.
Campbell was driving the last truck in a striping train traveling eastbound on Route 50 just outside of Jefferson City, when the incident occurred in April of 2014. A motorist drove around the early warning truck and did not pay attention to the striping trucks in the slow-moving work zone. The driver did not reduce speed and struck Campbell's striping truck from behind.
"With the early warning truck and the flashing lights, I don't know why he didn't see me," Campbell said. "I saw him coming up pretty fast. I looked ahead and then I heard screeching tires behind me. That's when I knew I was in trouble."
Fortunately, Campbell's vehicle was equipped with a Truck Mounted Attenuator (TMA), a device designed to reduce the impact of a rear-end crash. As a result, both Campbell and the other driver were not seriously injured in the crash.
"If he hadn't hit me just right and if that TMA wasn't on the truck, it could have been really bad," said Campbell. "We were both very lucky."
"Sadly, too many of our employees can tell crash stories similar to the one Scott has shared," said MoDOT Central District Engineer David Silvester. "Scott was very fortunate that he can tell the tale, but we'd like to be able to ensure that our workers never have to experience another crash due to distracted driving."
It's not just MoDOT workers who are at risk due to distracted driving in work zones. Between 2010 and 2014, 53 people were killed and 3,347 people were injured in Missouri work zones. The top five contributing circumstances for work zone crashes in 2014 were following too closely, inattention, improper lane use or changing lanes, failure to yield, and driving too fast for conditions - in that order.
Campbell hopes his story will save lives by encouraging drivers to pay attention and slow down, especially when encountering highway work zones.
"It's absolutely imperative that you pay attention when you are driving," Campbell said. "Distracted driving is one of the biggest hazards we encounter on the roadway. Whether it's a phone call, a text, a tablet, a book or a sandwich, distracted driving will get someone hurt or killed out on the road."
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Editor's Note: A 30-second version of the Scott Campbell video is available for viewing on You Tube at https://youtu.be/rw9jhM0022Q. Feel free to share this video on your website or social media pages or as a public service announcement. You may also contact MoDOT Customer Relations Specialist Gene McCoy at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like a copy of the video.