MoDOT Reminds Motorists Not to Barrel Through Work Zones
COLUMBIA - With warmer weather, the busy season nears for the road maintenance crews. This means an increase in road and bridge construction and the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) reminds drivers to use caution with National Work Zone Awareness Week.
The week, which happens every April, prompts motorists to pay attention when driving through work zones, but this year MoDOT is giving the public a chance to chime in. The department added signs near the beginning of work zones that ask drivers to "Rate Our Work Zones." They encourage people to complete an online survey, and the department uses the results to evaluate and improve work zones.
In 2011, 11 workers, motorists and pedestrians were killed in work zones across Missouri, which is a decrease from 15 people in 2010. A little more than 700 people were injured in 2011, which was also a decrease from about 1,035 in 2010. And since 2000, 15 actual employees of MoDOT have been killed in the line of duty.
Jim Williams, a MoDOT maintenance supervisor, said he loves his job but at times it can be dangerous. "Especially when you are working on the interstate. I've had guys pull me back from the edge line, because you get too close. We look out for each other," he said.
According to MoDOT, the top five contributing circumstances for work zone crashes in 2011 were inattention, following too closely, improper lane usage/change, too fast for conditions, and failure to yield.
A main issue is when motorists are distracted by technological devices, such as cell phones, especially texting, said Mike Belt, the maintenance superintendent for Boone County.
The central district of MoDOT covers 18 counties. According to Belt, there were four work zones just in Boone County Tuesday afternoon and there can be anywhere from 5 men crews to 50 working at a work zone at a time.