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LTU raising awareness in work zone safety

Published: Apr. 28, 2021 at 8:10 AM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - It’s National Work Zone Awareness week and the capitol city is no stranger to crashes happening on major roadways.

According to Nebraska Department of Transportation, in 2019 there were more than 39,000 work zone injuries and 135 worker fatalities in the United States. According to the same graphic, 31% of those fatalities were the cause of drivers speeding through work zones.

Lincoln Transportation officials tell 10/11 NOW these crashes are all preventable and their workers do everything they can to protect themselves.

“We make sure our staff is trained and certified in the proper practice and procedure of setting up and installing work zone traffic control. We provide proper notification to the driver and we ask drivers on our streets to do their part and pay attention as they’re going down the road,” said maintenance operations manager, Tim Byrne.

Road crews said the dangers of work zones do cause hesitancy for new applicants and the risk causes some to resign early.

Ultimately, safety and responsibility falls on drivers to keep work zones protected.

According to Work Zone Safety’s website, the state of Nebraska had 13 work zone fatalities in 2019, which is five higher than the three-year-average of eight. This is the highest number of fatalities since 2014 and six of those 13 fatalities were workers.

Lincoln Transportation staff said the biggest reason for these fatalities is distracted driving and being alert is what ultimately saves lives.

“How they feel when they are out of a walk and maybe have to cross a busy arterial street. Still imagine how that makes you feel being out there with your feet on the ground in the roadway next to vehicles. That’s the same thing the staff have to battle everyday in the work zone, except they’re right next to an open lane of traffic,” said Byrne.

Lincoln Transportation said the best piece of advice is remembering this is someone’s family member. These workers want to go home and see their loved ones, just the same as everyone else.

When you see the signs of a work zone slow down, eliminate distractions and remember they’re out there to serve you.

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