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Construction workers keeping their "heads on a swivel" to avoid distracted drivers

Construction workers keeping their "heads on a swivel" to avoid distracted drivers
Posted at 5:32 PM, Apr 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-14 08:02:53-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Transportation officials are taking this week to remind drivers to slow down when near a work zone. Work zones are some of the most dangerous parts of the roadway- causing dozens of deaths each year.

Tucson drivers encounter work zones like these all the time. But many don't know how to navigate around them.

“The start of every safety meeting we talk about keeping your head on a swivel,” said Sam Kennedy, Regional Safety Manager at Granite Construction.

Sam Kennedy is in charge of keeping his construction workers safe on the roadways.

“Our number one hazard in the business we do, repairing and building roads, is traffic," Kennedy said. "People driving drunk, people texting when they’re drunk, people driving into our work zones and actually physically hitting our workers.”

Pinned onto one wall of his office are the most recent incident reports of drivers crashing into work zones in Tucson. All of them involve drivers or construction workers going to the hospital.

“This particular driver kept on going and they didn’t catch him," Kennedy said. "So they had a hit and run.”

The Arizona Department of Transportation reports that 73 people have died in work zone related crashes in the last five years. In addition to that, 122 people were seriously injured.

“It's really as simple as slowing down and paying attention," said Garin Groff with Arizona Department of Transportation. "That really is what many work zone fatalities are about.”

Every work zone will have a posted reduced speed limit. Even if you don't see it, transportation officials ask that you drive below the original speed limit and watch for construction workers.

“Put down your cell phone, stop fiddling with the radio," Groff said. "Just pay attention to the roadway.”

Perla Shaheen is a reporter for KGUN 9. Perla graduated in May 2020 from the University of California, Berkeley, where she majored in Political Science. Share your story ideas and important issues with Perla by emailing or by connecting on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.