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Distracted driving impacting construction workers' safety in Morgan County

A Morgan County commissioner is trying to keep construction workers safe by adding more safety measures and tasking people to get the attention of distracted drivers.

Posted: Sep 16, 2019 5:12 PM
Updated: Sep 16, 2019 7:48 PM

The number of injuries and deaths in Alabama work zones is up and that number could rise as more projects are happening with the increased gas tax.

A Morgan County commissioner is trying to keep those sites safer for construction workers. WAAY 31 spoke with one construction worker who said he has to work double, doing his normal task and having to keep the site and workers protected.

Ray Miller is a construction worker in District 3 in Morgan County and tells WAAY 31 “I hope that people would slow down enough and set their phones down. Whatever they’re doing is not more important than driving that vehicle.”

Miller has been working for the Morgan County District 3 Road Department for nearly 25 years. 

“I mean we gotta be out here, and people want us to fix these things, but they don’t want us to hold them up either," he said.

“We spend a lot more time trying to warn drivers of work areas than what we’re used to. Distracted driving has really contributed to that," Chris Gandy, a supervisor for the Morgan County District 3 Road Department, said.

The Alabama Department of Transportation said 2018 saw the most construction zone crashes and deaths in 13 years and 34 people died.

The Morgan County commissioner of District 3, Don Stisher, said road department workers are now using their flags more and putting up warning signs miles before a construction zone.

“Do what the workers or flag men are asking you to do. Put your phone down or pull over if you need to use it. It’s our regulations and rules. I know it’s convenient. Everyone’s got a cell phone, but we’re seeing more and more close call situations, and we just don’t want that close call to become an accident," Commissioner Stisher said.

Commissioner Stisher said he wants drivers to be more cautious and aware of construction signs, especially on highly-traveled roads. He also said adding all the safety crews, adds to the cost of road work projects.

"Everybody wants to be safe. We want our men to come home just like how you want your family members to come home," Stisher said.

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