D.O.T. encourages safety in work zones - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

D.O.T. encourages safety in work zones

April 6, 2004

Lowndes County - This is National Work Zone Safety week and the Georgia Department of Transportation is encouraging motorists to slow down and pay close attention in construction zones.

Robert Metts knows first hand how important this is. He walks with a slight limp and has hip and back problems. "I have pain every day of my life, seven days a week" said Metts.

Its an injury he received 17 years ago while working in a Department of Transportation construction zone. "She veered off the road and hit me, I rolled up on her hood and was thrown across the road," said Metts.

Robert knows he's lucky to be alive. Hundreds of D.O.T. workers are killed on the job each year. "I was almost one of those numbers on the sign, and people have got to start paying attention because these are mothers and fathers, sons and daughters who are losing their lives," said Metts.

With summer traveling months ahead, and lots of lots of construction zones, the numbers are sure to increase. "With summer ahead, we've got lots of people starting to come in to Wild Adventures, and the Interstate is packed," said Sgt. Craig Phillips, State Trooper.

State troopers say one of the leading causes of accidents in work zones in driver frustration. People in a hurry don't want to slow down for the traffic backups, and tend to ignore the caution signs. "The construction causes a delay and congestion, and people just are paying as much attention to their driving," said Phillips.

Even though he returned to work just three weeks later, Robert's accident has changed his life forever. "I always knew my job could be dangerous but after that, I hear every single thing that's happening around me in the work zone," said Metts.

He hopes his injuries will be a warning to motorists and help protect other workers from the pain he's endured.

posted at 3:50 P.M. by ashley.harper@walb.com