Shawnee Dispatch

Five Questions: Road construction safety

Construction crews throughout Kansas will be busy upgrading roads and highways this summer. Kansas Department of Transportation encourages motorists to slow down, watch for workers and drive safely through work zones. Enlarge photo

May 14, 2013

With warm weather comes road construction, and work sites are popping up everywhere. Kansas Department of Transportation officials encourage all drivers to be alert and drive safely.

Q: How many accidents occurred in Kansas work zones last year?

A: Last year, 608 people were injured and eight people were killed: one construction worker, one pedestrian and six motorists.

Q: What are the causes of work zone accidents?

A: In 2012, 86 percent of accidents were driver-related, with the top five circumstances including following too closely, inattention, driving too fast for the conditions, right of way violation and improper lane change. Only seven percent of those accidents involved adverse weather and only 20 percent occurred after the sun set.

Q: What can drivers do to eliminate work zone accidents.

A: When traveling through a construction zone, drivers should: follow traffic control, stay alert, watch for workers, expect delays, allow ample space between you and the car in front of you, and only change lanes when directed to do so.

Q: Where is the Kansas highway workers memorial?

A: The memorial, which was dedicated in 1996, is located at the Paxico Safety Rest Area along I-70 in Wabaunsee County. The memorial not only recognizes highway workers who were killed on the job, but also all highway workers who have dedicated their service to a work zone. This memorial is also meant to remind drivers on Kansas roads to respect work zones and pay special attention to road workers.

Q: Where can motorists, especially new teenage drivers, get acquainted with work zone etiquette?

A: KDOT’s website offers a wealth of tips, links and videos to teach drivers about work zone safety issues. Visit to learn more.

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