Road crews face dangers from motorists

Deadly accident should warn drivers to BOLO

FORT THOMAS, Ky. – A deadly crash on I-71 should be a warning to drivers and a reminder of the risks road crews face on Tri-State highways.

But only hours after a driver crashed into a Ohio Department of Transportation truck on pothole patrol Wednesday morning, another driver drove through a work site in Fort Thomas, nearly hitting the crew.

"It's extremely dangerous," Meghan Jones says.

RELATED: Driver killed when SUV slams into ODOT truck

Jones has seen a lot of near misses on Northern Kentucky roads in her 10-plus years as a supervisor for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.

Her crew had a close call Wednesday while fixing a road slippage on Route 8.

"We had a guy run through our work zone.  We actually had the road closed and he decided to go through the work zone and almost hit one of my employees," Jones said.

Jones' work truck was sideswiped as she was working on I-471.

"I was operating a crash cushion and some kid came by -- he had his license for maybe a couple of months -- and he hit the side of my crash cushion and ran all the way down the side of the vehicle," Jones recalled.

ODOT's Brian Cunningham says worker safety is Job One on all road projects.

"We have signage, we have arrow boards, we have shadow trucks following the work units so that people are aware that ODOT folks are out on the road," Cunningham said.

"You've seen the arrow boards pointing drivers away from workers. They may mean your trip will be a little longer, but they're in place to workers and drivers safe.

"We can take every precaution in the world, but if people aren't paying attention or are distracted, it could cause huge, huge problems."

Jones has very simple advice for drivers approaching a work zone.

"If you see cones, flaggers, trucks going in and out of road, slow down," she says.

"I have a family. I want to make it home and not have to worry about getting hit and killed out here."

Ohio law requires drivers to move over for all roadside workers. That's because 23 highway workers, one law enforcer and six firefighters are killed every year in roadside accidents.

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