More buffer truck crashes than ever before. Dozens of work zone fatalities. This is how Missouri will remember its 2020 construction season. And that’s why the Missouri Department of Transportation is pleading with drivers to help turn the tide in 2021. Motorists are urged to make smart, safe driving choices behind the wheel as part of National Work Zone Awareness Week, April 26-30.
In 2020, MoDOT protective vehicles with truck/trailer-mounted attenuators (TMAs) were struck an unprecedented 48 times. Jack Kirtlink, a maintenance worker in MoDOT’s Northeast District, was just one of dozens of MoDOT employees hit while driving these protective vehicles in 2020. Despite signage and flashing lights, a motorist crashed into his equipment at 70 mph, and the TMA ended up underneath the driver’s truck.
Since 2018, TMA crashes have resulted in 32 injuries and one fatality. These crashes are almost always the result of a driver not paying attention and/or driving too fast for conditions.
“We need drivers to work with us,” said State Highway Safety and Traffic Engineer Nicole Hood. “Last year, 27 lives were lost in work zone crashes. It’s on all of us to step up and make smart choices behind the wheel.”
“We’ve got a job to do, and we want everyone to be safe. Just pay attention and slow down, that’s all we’re asking,” said Kirtlink.
To help keep workers and travelers safe, MoDOT, in partnership with the Missouri Local Technical Assistance Program, is hosting a series of virtual training opportunities focused on safety in local work zones and good traffic control procedures.
CLICK HERE to register for any or all of these sessions:
Statewide fatality totals as reported on the Missouri State Highway Patrol website as of April 18, 2021
2021 totals - 233 / 2018 totals - 231
2020 totals - 213 / 2017 totals - 248
2019 totals - 200 / 2016 totals - 250