By Brad ReehWork zones are there to protect the workers and the motorists. When we are out working on the road, we depend on our work zones to keep the motorists and KDOT employees safe. With all the technology that we have in the vehicle like cell phones, GPS and other gadgets, many motorists are not paying attention to what is going on in front of them.
It was the summer of 2012, shortly after I became the Supervisor in Colby – a 95 degree day and we were doing some patching on Highway 25. We had all the equipment needed and all the traffic control signs out that were needed at the time. We were half-way done with the job and I sent an employee to get some more material so we could finish the patching. I went to relieve one of the flagmen and to give him a break because he had been flagging most of the day. I was flagging for about 20 minutes, enjoying the day, when I had a motorist stop. The motorist got out of his truck, which was hauling batteries, and asked how long the wait was. I informed him it would only be a few minutes or so.The driver got back in his truck and put his seat belt on while he waited to be released. I noticed a bull hauler coming up from behind him at a high rate of speed. It was like he did not see the truck. I waved my arms to get his attention, and as he looked up, it was too late. The bull hauler turned to the ditch, and as he was turning he hit the back of the truck that was stopped.
After it was over, I radioed the other flagger to hold all traffic because there was an accident that had occurred. I call 911 and had another employee come to relieve me so that I could check on the driver of the battery truck. I then also checked on the bull hauler driver and both were fine. I asked the driver of the bull hauler if he had not seen the traffic control signs and to my surprise, he said that he had not.Later on, after the Highway Patrol was finished with the accident, one of the patrolmen came up to me and said the bull hauler was not paying attention. This could have been a lot worse, not only for the truck driver, but also for everyone in the area.
Like I tell my kids, it’s not your driving I worry about, it’s everyone else’s driving that worries me.
Brad Reeh is the KDOT Subarea Supervisor in Colby