Drivers Reminded To Slow Down In Work Zones

Wednesday, April 9th 2008, 5:11 pm
By: News On 6

A Catoosa teenager is dead after crashing his car at a Tulsa construction site.  Construction zone fatalities are a growing trend in Oklahoma. And, The News On 6's Jeffrey Smith reports workers want more people to be aware of it.

This week is Work Zone Awareness Week in Oklahoma.  Dozens of people are killed every year due to collisions in work zones, like Tuesday night's fatal accident on Highway 169. Construction workers say it's an issue that's not going away.

"In 2006, 17 people were killed in Oklahoma work zones alone. 550 people injured. And these are highway workers. The results of last night's accident on 169 and 31st Street ended in one fatality, with an 18-year-old boy who was about to graduate high school. It's deadly serious," said Oklahoma Highway Patrol Lt. George Brown.

One year ago, 23-year-old Joshua McCance was hit by a car as he fixed potholes on Highway 75. He died at the scene.

"I don't think I'll ever get used to not having him around me," said Elaine McCance, Joshua's mother.

As part of Work Zone Awareness Week, his mother is speaking out.

"To be forgotten is a travesty. Please don't let my son be forgotten," said Elaine McCance.

Of all the dangers construction workers face on the job, its reckless driving around coned work zones that poses the biggest danger of all.

"The guys are probably a foot, two foot away from the cars. They should slow down to 45 miles an hour. They still come through at 65 miles an hour. On the telephone, not paying attention to what's ahead of them," said ODOT worker Gregg Zumber.

ODOT workers say there's nothing protecting them from a 3,500 pound car going 60 miles an hour, except an orange cone.

"Just slow down. Just pay attention to what's up ahead. When they see the orange signs, we are out here working on the road," said ODOT worker Gregg Zumber.

He says the equation is simple:  slow down and you can save a life.

The construction workers say that they put up a series of signs telling you that the speed limit is changing up ahead.  It'll often go from 65, down to 55, down to 45 over the course of a mile or two.     But, they say too many drivers continue to ignore them.

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