KIMT News 3 – “Yeah I’ll see people driving and texting,” says Construction Worker, John Lindley.
He knows first-hand what it’s like to see distracted drivers in work zones.
“It seems like there’s a lot of confusion and I think a lot of it might be drivers who aren’t paying attention,” says Lindley.
And right now, there are plenty of places where you need to pay special attention.
“There’s a lot of roadwork out here because the infrastructure needs work. That means there are a lot of work zones,” says Kevin Gutknecht with the Minnesota Department of Transportation.
Which is why they are launching a new campaign, “Orange Cones, No Phones.”
“The campaign that was started is intended to alert motorists to the fact that they need to be very careful in work zones. You don’t want to have a crash in a work zone, because you’ll hurt yourself and you may hurt workers,” says Gutknecht.
And these areas can be pretty unpredictable.
“You’re encountering a situation that’s very much different, and can be very much different than what you’re used to. That means you need to be paying more attention when you’re there,” says Gutknecht.
“I’ve stepped out, and had to start back in pretty quickly because there’s a vehicle coming that maybe you know, just couldn’t see us,” says Lindley.
Drivers in Minnesota will be seeing billboards with these orange cones on them and hearing reminders on the radio. The goal is to reduce the number of traffic related deaths.
“We’ve seen an uptake in recent years of distracted driving because of the cell phones. I don’t think that there’s anything that you’re doing on a cell phone, the phone call, or a text message or anything that’s worth someone’s life or some sort of injury that could change a person’s life,” says Gutknecht.
So, while these workers improve roads to keep us safe, Lindley asks you to help keep them safe as well.
“We’re trying to make the roads safer for them. If the roads are safe for us while we work, it makes us able to do our job,” he says.
Since the Minnesota “Toward Zero Deaths” initiative launched ten years ago, roadway fatalities have been cut in half, from 655 in 2003 to 387 last year.
You’ll continue to see these billboards and hear radio announcements through construction season.