AHTD: How to keep everyone safe in construction zones

AHTD: How to keep everyone safe in construction zones

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Drivers honking, speeding and yelling out their windows are the number one distraction and danger to road crews.

"The traffic is very dangerous at times, even if we're the safest that we can be," said Steve Leath, a road maintenance supervisor for the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department.

Leath said his Craighead County crews cannot control what other drivers do, but he hopes road work signs can.

"Drivers should be aware of any signs first," Leath said. "When they see those signs, they should know that workers will be in front of that."

Leath asks drivers to slow down as soon as they see these signs.

"Especially if there's cones," Leath said. "That's the barricaded off place where we actually work so be very slow around those. It's very dangerous when you're out there on the road."

Crews not only watch out for cars but also each other.

"We always try to have a spotter to back any time somebody's moving backwards," Leath said.

He said the highway department also thoroughly trains its workers on the equipment.

"Safety is number one," Leath said. "But there's always going to be a chance for accidents."

Leath has worked as a road maintenance supervisor for the past eight years and has yet to see any equipment or vehicle accidents.

"But it's always very possible," Leath said.

While those serious accidents are rare, Leath said minor accidents have occasionally happened, the number one minor accident being glass breakage during lawn maintenance along roadways.

"That's just the fact of mowing," Leath said. "You're going to pick up glass sometimes so traffic needs to watch out around those mowers."

And as summer temperatures soar to the 90s, heat dangers are also a concern.

"That's something that our employees really strive to be careful with," Leath said.

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