Arrive Alive

Pay Attention in Work Zones - Or Pay the Price!

National Work Zone Awareness Week is March 23-27

For more information, contact Customer Relations, 1-888-ASK-MODOT (275-6636)

JEFFERSON CITY - Every spring, the Missouri Department of Transportation starts preparing for the summer season of roadwork across the state. Part of that preparation includes the observance of National Work Zone Awareness Week, which is March 23-27.

Motorists are reminded to slow down and pay attention as they drive past work zones. Not all work zones look alike.  Work zones can be moving operations, such as striping, patching or mowing. They can also be short term, temporary lane closures to make quick repairs or remove debris from the roadway.

Driver inattention was the second highest cause of work zone crashes in 2014. Driving too closely was number one.

The average text takes five seconds to read. Traveling at 55 mph, you will travel more than the length of a football field-blindfolded. MoDOT's slow moving maintenance operations move as slow as 10 mph and if you aren't paying attention to the road, you will come up on the closed lane very quickly.

Highway workers make every effort to work safely, but we count on motorists to pay attention, slow down, and use caution when driving through work zones.

Any time highway workers are present on a Missouri roadway - whether it's a long term lane closure, a moving operation, or shoulder work - your safety and the safety of those workers depends on drivers' focus and attention. The state Slow Down and Move Over law includes MoDOT vehicles parked with amber/white lights flashing. Motorists are required to slow down and change lanes when approaching MoDOT vehicles or law enforcement and emergency vehicles with lights flashing.

"The law is simple: If you see flashing lights on the side of the road, move over to give workers and emergency personnel plenty of room to stay safe," said MoDOT State Maintenance Engineer Beth Wright. "If you can't move over on a crowded highway, you should slow down as you pass them.  We want you and our workers to make it home safe every day."

The severe downturn in transportation funding in Missouri means that MoDOT's focus is increasingly on preservation of the existing transportation system. It requires $485 million per year to keep Missouri's roads and bridges in the condition they are in today. MoDOT's construction budget is slightly above that figure now, but by 2017 it will fall to $325 million. That will lead to the eventual deterioration of highways across the state. Lots of resurfacing and bridge replacement projects will be required and that is the type of work that affects drivers the most.

Work zone safety is a serious matter.  Check out these current statistics:

  • In 2014 seven people were killed in work zone crashes on state system routes and an additional two on the local system, for a total of nine fatalities.
  • Between 2010 and 2014, 46 people were killed in work zone crashes on state system routes and an additional seven on the local system, for a total of 53 fatalities
  • Between 2010 and 2014, 2,614 people were injured in Missouri work zones on state system routes and an additional 733 on the local system, for a total of 3,347 injuries.
  • Since 2000, 16 MoDOT employees have been killed in the line of duty.
  • In 2014, 62 percent of vehicle occupant fatalities were not wearing a seat belt.
  • The best defense in a work zone crash, or any crash, is a seat belt.

To help make your travel safer, visit MoDOT's Traveler Information map at www.traveler.modot.org/map and find out what work zones you'll encounter before you go. Motorists can comment on the quality of MoDOT's work zones with an online customer survey at http://www.modot.org/workzones/Comments.htm.

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Editor's Note:  Two work zone public service announcements are available at http://www.modot.org/workzones/index.htm