ST. JOSEPH, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Transportation is asking drivers to turn off their phones for workers in work zones. Motorists will see more construction and maintenance work zones on the 5,625 miles of state roads and bridges across northwest Missouri in the coming weeks.
To help spread that message that “Work Zones are No Phone Zones,” MoDOT is asking everyone to wear #OrangeForSafety on Monday, April 3, in support of all roadway workers.
Motorists are reminded to slow down, put their phone down and pay attention as they drive past work zones. Not all work zones look alike. 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.
Driver inattention was the number one cause of work zone crashes last year. The average text takes five seconds to read. Traveling at 55 mph, you will travel more than the length of a football field—blindfolded. MoDOT sometimes has mobile, slow-moving operations which can go as slowly as 10 mph.
“You are driving two tons of steel. It’s hard to do more than one thing at a time so focus on the road,” said MoDOT Chief Engineer Ed Hassinger. “Put your phone down and make work zones no phone zones.”
Any time highway workers are present on a Missouri roadway – whether it’s a long-term lane closure, a moving operation, or shoulder work – your safety and the safety of those workers depends on drivers’ focus and attention. Since 2012, the state Slow Down and Move Over law includes MoDOT vehicles parked with amber/white lights flashing. Motorists are required to slow down and change lanes when approaching MoDOT vehicles or law enforcement and emergency vehicles with 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,” Hassinger said. “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.”