Many MoDOT maintenance workers have harrowing stories of distracted drivers crashing into or narrowly missing work zones along Missouri highways.
|Joplin Senior Maintenance Worker Charles Wilson recounts to a reporter his story of a motorist crashing into the back of his truck in a work zone, during the Southwest District’s kickoff of National Work Zone Awareness Week. (Photo/David Mitchell)
Joplin Senior Maintenance Worker Charles Wilson has one of those stories.
Last year, he was part of a crew flushing a bridge on Route 249 south of Route 66 in Joplin.
He was driving the last truck behind the bridge cleaning crew, straddling the yellow line in the left lane.
“A semi was behind me and suddenly pulled over into the driving lane,” said Wilson.
The driver behind the semi didn’t see Wilson until the last minute, over-corrected and lost control of her car hitting the right rear of Wilson’s truck mounted attenuator (TMA).
“Her nerves were shot. She was freaking out,” Wilson said.
An ambulance took her to the hospital and Wilson learned later she was okay.
“If she’d hit me square in the back,” said Wilson, “she’d have been seriously hurt.”
The Southwest District took part in the kickoff of National Work Zone Awareness Week March 24 by hosting local media to help get the safety message out.
|District Construction and Materials Engineer Steve Campbell (at podium), Assistant District Maintenance Engineer Bob Becker (orange shirt) along with district maintenance workers, meet local media to kick off National Work Zone Awareness Week. (Photo/David Mitchell)
District leaders and employees were available to urge motorists to drive safely through MoDOT work zones this construction season.
District Construction and Materials Engineer Steve Campbell said there are too many crashes resulting in injury and even death.
“We know our work zones can create challenges for motorists,” said Campbell. “We are committed to ensuring that we keep our customers and our workers safe.”
Seven people were killed in work zone crashes in Missouri in 2014 and eight the year before that.
Assistant District Maintenance Engineer Bob Becker urged drivers to slow down and pay attention when traveling through work zones.
He reminded reporters Missouri’s “Slow Down and Move Over” law includes MoDOT vehicles parked with amber and white lights flashing.
“Motorists are required to slow down and change lanes when approaching MoDOT vehicles,” just as they would for law enforcement or emergency responders said Becker."
The bottom line message was for drivers to pay attention in work zones and to use tools like MoDOT’s Traveler Information Map and social media sites to stay informed about where crews are working.