Just because summer is winding down doesn’t mean road and bridge construction is coming to a halt. In fact, the Missouri Department of Transportation’s construction and maintenance season stretches for as long as the weather holds and doesn’t typically die down until sometime in November.
That’s why MoDOT officials are issuing a reminder to keep your guard up when traveling as you’ll still encounter active work zones – the home office to numerous maintenance and construction workers – throughout the state.
MoDOT Deputy Director and Chief Engineer Ed Hassinger said that despite the department’s stringent efforts to alert motorists to upcoming work zones through signs, lighting, public information and other tools, crashes in work zones continue to occur. In fact, so far this year, there have been 113 work zone crashes that have resulted in nine fatalities. All of the fatalities were motorists.
A truck mounted attenuator or TMA, also known as a crash cushion, is a device intended to reduce the damage to structures, vehicles, and motorists resulting from a motor vehicle collision. Despite their large, lighted-arrow presence on the back of multi-ton trucks, TMAs are being hit at an alarming rate. In the past four years alone, motorists have struck more than 100 TMAs in MoDOT work zones, resulting in many injuries to MoDOT workers.
The leading cause of these crashes is distracted driving, which MoDOT’s Buckle Up Phone Down safety initiative aims to curtail. The campaign tackles two of the most effective actions drivers can take to stay safe when getting behind the wheel – fastening their seatbelts and putting down their cell phones.