Construction zones cause "close calls" for road crews

16 MoDOT workers have died in the line of duty since 2000.

The Missouri Department of Transportation warns drivers to slow down and be alert while in construction zones to help keep other drivers and construction crews safe.

This comes one day after a flagger was seriously injured after getting hit by a car in a Moniteau County construction zone.

"It's real common, especially at accident scenes and work zones...[drivers] don't pay attention sometimes and they're driving too fast," MoDOT Senior Maintenance Worker Kent Cunningham said of accidents or "close calls" in construction zones.

According to MoDOT, 16 MoDOT employees have been killed on the job since 2000. Between 2009 and 2013, a total of 53 people were killed and 2,781 injured in Missouri work zones.

Cunningham says MoDOT employees go through daily safety training before heading out to their assignments along with more extensive training on things like machine operation and flagging.

But no amount of training can predict an accident.

While speed can be a danger on high-traffic highways, two-lane highways can also be dangerous because of hills and curves.

"A lot of variables can happen out here on the road, from speed to terrain to weather, you just never know," Cunningham said.

Cunningham had a close call recently while working a crash scene. He set up signs to warn drivers of a crash ahead, and was walking to the site to meet with police and firemen.

"I looked out of the corner of my eye and I saw the firemen and police just scatter. Well I came to find out there was a one-ton truck, and he couldn't get stopped in time to come through the accident scene," Cunningham said.

"There wasn't a place for me to go, I was up against the barrier...I couldn't go over the barrier because westbound traffic was coming 70 miles an hour so I just got down on my knees and got up against the barrier. And by the time all was said and done I could sit out and touch the trailer, that's how close was."

According to MoDOT, the top five contributing circumstances for work zone crashes in 2013 were (in the following order):

Following too closely

Improper lane use or changing lanes


Driving too fast for conditions

Failure to yield