Report: Number of work zone crashes in Kansas on the rise

Local

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – New traffic data shows an increase in the number of work zone crashes in Kansas.

The Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) said about 5.6 work zone crashes occurred each day in 2016 in the State of Kansas.

Spring time often means construction time. Drivers in Wichita should prepare to see more orange as a number of construction projects get underway in April.

“There is a lot of orange and on the turnpike itself we have a lot of different projects,” said Kansas Highway Patrol Cpt. Joe Bott. “We have quite a bit of construction going on.”

As more road closed signs pop up throughout the City of Wichita and surrounding areas, the number of workers on construction sites will increase too. Law enforcement said that alone is a major safety concern.

“Maintenance workers are standing out there and to have a car go by at 70 mph right next to you kind of raises the hair on the back of your neck up a little bit,” Bott said.

In 2016, KDOT said there were 2,049 crashes in Kansas work zones. In 2015, traffic data shows there were 1,717 crashes and in 2014, there were 1,356 crashes.

“Our fatalities unfortunately have gone up this year and I think a lot of it has to do with people just not being fully involved in what they are doing on the roadway and their attention is being diverted,” Bott said.

Bott said one of the major distractions is cell phones. He said it’s common to see drivers on their devices while they are traveling through work zones.

“I think people feel if something bad is going to happen, it’s going to be someone else, not them, they can handle it,” Bott said.

He said he wants to remind drivers to take it easy and watch their speed as they pass through construction zones.

“It’s not a race to get there,” Bott said. “Be aware of your surroundings, pay attention to the signs because there is plenty of advance notice and stay off your cell phones.”

Six people were killed and nearly 500 were injured in work zone related crashes in Kansas in 2016.April 3 – April 7 is National Work Zone Awareness Week.

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