MoDOT urges drivers to ‘work with us’ in work areas
Work Zone Awareness Week runs April 11-15
Collisions with protection vehicles equipped with truck/trailer mounted attenuators (TMA) increased further in 2021, accompanied by 17 fatalities in work areas. These numbers make Missouri’s 2021 construction season one that will sadly be remembered. Accidents and fatalities should not occur in work areas. The Missouri Department of Transportation is urging drivers to help turn the tide in 2022. Motorists are urged to make smart and safe driving choices behind the wheel as part of National Work Zone Awareness Week, Aug. April 15.
In 2021, MoDOT TMAs were struck an unprecedented 61 times. “Whenever you come across freeway workers on a Missouri highway – whether it’s a long-term lane closure, moving operation, or shoulder job – your safety and security of these workers depends on your focus and attention,” MoDOT Director Patrick McKenna said. “Fasten your seatbelt, put down your phone, slow down and stay alert. Lives are at stake in work areas.
Jason Smith, assistant maintenance supervisor in MoDOT’s Northeast District, is one of several MoDOT employees closely affected by these accidents. Despite signage and flashing lights, a distracted motorist slammed into his TMA at nearly 70mph, leaving no brake marks in his path. “That’s why we use TMAs,” Smith said. “It protects our crews, but I think it also saved that driver’s life.”
From 2018 to 2021, these TMA accidents left 37 injured and two dead. These accidents are almost always the result of distracted drivers driving and/or driving too fast for the conditions.
“The people who work here are mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters. We’re like everyone else,” Smith said. “I know people are frustrated because life goes fast. We don’t want to hold you back any longer than necessary. We want you to get where you are going and we want to get home safely at night.
It’s not just a courtesy to slow down and move to these work areas, it’s the law. Be aware of changing traffic conditions, observe warning signs and merge before you reach lane closures.
To help make your trip safer, visit MoDOT’s Traveler Information Map at voyageur.modot.org and find out which work areas you will encounter before you leave. Be sure to do your part to save lives in these work areas. Missouri’s road safety strategic plan, Show-Me Zero, provides information to all Missourians to help promote four key messages: buckle up, phone, slow down and drive sober. The plan can be viewed at savemolives.com.