By Ted C. Coleman
I've witnessed many distracted motorists who have caused accidents in the Wichita Metro area during mobile traffic control work zones with TMA/Crash Attenuators while pot hole patching. It’s a dangerous occupation any time your job site is just a few feet away from fast moving traffic. It only takes a couple of seconds for distracted motorists to cause things to get a little too exciting. (That’s one heck of an understatement if you ask me!)... lol.
Anytime you step out of your vehicle during a mobile work zone you must pay attention to everything that is going on around you. Even though we have flashing warning lights, and road work action signs posted on our TMA/Crash Attenuator trucks while pot hole patching, we still encounter those texting while driving and other distractions which have become a major concern to us public service workers.
Dedicated KDOT and/or construction workers work hard to build and maintain the roads and bridges relied on every day to get the traveling public to their destination safely. The least the traveling public can do to improve work zone safety is to take the foot off the gas and keep their eyes on the road in work zones. Drivers must pay extra attention in mobile work zones, which means putting away cell phones and watching out for any changes to normal road conditions.
Speeding and distracted driving through stationary or mobile work zones is dangerous and at times, has proven deadly for motorists and public works employees.
As a supervisor I tell my crew that while they are performing their job in a work zone, they have to keep their head in the game and stay alert, use caution, never turn your back on traffic, be responsible and always be mindful of your surroundings.
The lives of KDOT and construction workers and the motoring public are all at stake in the work zone. We enthusiastically welcome the stepped up traffic enforcement the KHP Troopers provide against speeding in work zones, because our TMA/Crash attenuators, flashing warning lights, road work action signs, traffic cones alone do not protect against distracted, impaired or speeding drivers. At the end of the day we want to make sure that every worker goes home in one piece to their loved ones.
Ted C. Coleman is a Public Service Administrator/Highway Supervisor at the KDOT Wichita East office.