COLUMBIA COUNTY, S.C. (WJBF) – After several deadly accidents in work zones, across the CSRA, Department of Transportation workers want drivers to put themselves in their shoes.
DOT employees work hard to make and keep the roads safe, but it takes a special kind of focus to do that job because one step in the wrong direction could be the difference between life and death.
“Imagine what it would feel like to have a car go by 65-75 miles an hour, when you’re working a foot or inches away.” Kyle Collins, District Communications Officer, said.
Safety cones marking a lane closure are warning drivers of what’s up ahead, and it’s one of the ways Georgia DOT workers are able to safely do routine maintenance.
A part of Columbia Road is a dream for DOT crews because the sidewalks add a nice buffer zone, leaving them plenty of room to work. Still, most days at the office are not like that.
“If you were out on the interstate right now some of the contract work we’ve got going on, where the lanes are a little tighter, they are doing some sawing activity… yes they may be simply a foot or two from a passing vehicle.” Collins said.
DOT workers gets lots of road safety training, but just like people get used to working in an office they get used to working the highways. That’s why they rely on one another, because you never know what a driver is thinking.
“I’ve had employees flagging in their flagging stations and vehicles come through their flagging stations, where they’ve had to drop their paddles, drop their flags run to the wood line to keep from getting run over.” Area 4 Maintenance Manager Jay Glisson said.
Speeding in a construction zone will get you a hefty ticket and that just makes the workday that much more dangerous for these maintenance crews.
So, next time you’re passing a crew like this, slow down because just like you, they want to make it home for dinner.
“The traveling public just needs to be aware that when they do see work zones, that they are people’s mothers, brothers, sisters, dads working there.” Glisson said. “They want to go home and see their families just as much.”
Both Georgia and South Carolina enhance the penalties for anyone committing traffic violations in a work zone.
In Georgia, you could get a ticket for up to $2,000 dollars and spend a year in jail.
In South Carolina, you could get a ticket for up to $200 dollars and 30 days in jail, or both.