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Local Agencies Call Attention to Highway Safety

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- MoDOT reminds motorists to slow down in work zones during National Work Zone Awareness Week April 7 through 11.
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- MoDOT reminds motorists to slow down in work zones during National Work Zone Awareness Week April 7 through 11.

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 April 7 through 11.

Missouri Highway workers usually conduct maintenance and repairs a very short distance from fast-moving vehicles. Workers make every effort to perform their job safely, but with National Work Zone Awareness Week MoDOT would like to remind motorists to pay attention, slow down, and use caution when driving through work zones.

“Not all work zones look alike,” said MoDOT State Maintenance Engineer Beth Wright. “We remind motorists that 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.”

In 2012, Governor Jay Nixon and the Missouri General Assembly added MoDOT vehicles to the “Move Over” law, which protects law enforcement and emergency response vehicles parked on the side of the road.

This law requires motorists to slow down or change lanes when approaching these vehicles and now includes MoDOT vehicles parked with amber and white 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 Chief Engineer Ed Hassinger. “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.”

In 2013, eight people were killed in work zones, compared to seven in 2012 and between 2009 and 2013, 53 people were killed and 2,781 people were injured in Missouri work zones.

Since 2000, 16 MoDOT employees have been killed in the line of duty.

According to MoDOT, The top five contributing circumstances for work zone crashes in 2013 were following too closely, improper lane use or changing lanes, inattention, driving too fast for conditions, and failure to yield.

The best defense in a work zone crash, or any crash, is a seat belt. In 2013, 63 percent of vehicle occupant fatalities were not wearing a seat belt.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol urges the public to report reckless driving toll-free at 1-800-525-5555 or *55 on their cellular phone.

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