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Motorists Urged to Practice Work Zone Safety

April 2, 2004 (04-039)


News Contact:  Stan Whitley, (785) 296-3585

Motorists urged to practice work zone safety

Kansas highways will be busy with activity this year as more than 500 construction and maintenance projects are planned in the state. Work zones will be unavoidable, but taking some simple precautions can enhance safety for both construction workers and motorists.

“It’s imperative that motorists slow down, be attentive and drive responsibly through work zones in Kansas,” said KDOT Secretary of Transportation Deb Miller. “Motorists should be aware that they are likely to encounter a variety of work zone conditions, including slow moving equipment, narrow lanes, concrete barriers and uneven pavement.”

National Work Zone Safety Awareness will take place April 4-10. KDOT, in conjunction with the American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATSAA), the American Association of State Highway and Transportation officials (AASHTO) and the United States Department of Transportation/Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), are dedicated to enhancing work zone safety for both workers and the traveling public.

Last year there were 1,598 construction zone crashes in Kansas with 12 people being killed and 515 injured. Nationwide, there were 117,567 work zone crashes that took the lives of 1,181 people.

 “Work zone safety is a growing roadway safety concern,” said Miller. “The main cause of work zone crashes is excessive speed and inattentive driving. These are two factors that the traveling public has the ability to control.”

Statistics annually show that motorists comprise four out of five of all deaths in highway work zones. Last year in Kansas, that figure was even higher as all of the 12 people killed in work zones were motorists.

Motorists should also be aware that speeding in Kansas work zones can be financially costly with double fines accessed. For example, driving up to 20 miles over the speed limit could cost you nearly $250 in fines and court costs.

The Kansas Department of Transportation wants all highway workers and motorists to return home safely to their families. KDOT offers the following tips to help keep you safe in work zones.

  • Stay alert and dedicate your full attention to the roadway
  • Don’t speed in work zones
  • Watch for workers and drive with caution
  • Don’t change lanes in work zones
  • Avoid using cell phones or changing your radio
  • Turn on your headlights so workers and other motorists can see you
  • Expect delays, especially during peak travel times
  • Don’t tailgate
  • Expect the unexpected
  • Be patient
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