From The Mississippi Link Newswire
JACKSON – A gust of wind kicks up a trail of dust as forty tons of metal on wheels speeds past. A car full of children waving their hands passes a flagman on the side of the road. A teenager heading to class looks down for a spilt second to check his phone, and then disaster strikes.
Every day, men and women face these dangers in work zones across Mississippi. Truthfully, a lot of road crews never see a fatality during their time on the job, but it happens more frequently than one might think. The month of April is when the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) joins other agencies and companies around the nation to raise awareness for work zone safety and to commemorate workers who have been fatally injured on the job.
Over the past couple weeks, MDOT has coordinated multiple events through the Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP) Center and Traffic Engineering Safety Programs to raise awareness of the realistic dangers of work zones and promote safer driving habits.
On Tuesday, MDOT employees joined members of the Mississippi Transportation Commission, Federal Highway Administration, and the Mississippi Highway Patrol in a memorial press conference to recognize workers who were fatally injured in work zones. During the ceremony, each name was read from a memorial as fellow coworkers and friends looked on in silence.
“This event serves as a reminder that not only are roadside workers at risk in work zones, but also motorists as well,” said the members of the Mississippi Transportation Commission in a joint statement. “When you encounter a work zone, please slow down and pay attention to all signage and workers directing traffic. Their life, and possibly yours, depends on it.” The Commission further stressed that safer driving habits and lower speeds could prevent most work zone related fatalities.