Slow Down For Highway Workers

PARAGOULD (KAIT), In a perfect world highway construction and maintenance would be done where no vehicles could come anywhere near the workers.

Sadly, as Tuesdays' accident shows, both drivers and workers have to be careful.

Joe Barnett, AHTD "At any given time we have about 40 contracts where we have contractors that are working on road construction projects in a 7 county district."

That doesn't include the regular Highway Department workers doing routine maintenance. This means a lot of workers along side the highway, concentrating on their jobs and not on traffic passing by.

Joe Barnett the local district engineer for the state highway department says safety is emphasized from day one.

"Every employee that comes to work for us is taught how to flag traffic and what to watch for and where to stand to try and minimize their exposure and vehicles that are going by. "

Barnett says the public also needs to be educated on how to drive through a construction site.

The barrels and signs aren't just there for decorations.

Barnett, "A very visible indication that something is going on here so what we're trying to do here is get the publics attention so that they will slow down and look at the traffic control that's in place."

And driving safely around workers doesn't mean just highway personnel. Watch out for Utility workers on streets and highways as well.

And something you may not know is that when highway vehicles have their flashers on the move over law applies to highway vehicles as well.

Barnett, "The same provisions apply to our employees that apply to police officers. If a vehicle has flashing lights and the traveling public is able to they are required to move over."

Like anything else, common sense applies, if you see the barrels, the flashing lights, the vests the signs, slow down, keep your eyes open and keep workers and you safe.

Barnett, "A minute or two delay to save someone's life is not much of a delay."

So far this year in Region 8 there has been one state highway worker killed and one injured when he was hit by the mirror of a large truck