City Officials Asking Drivers to Watch for Workers in Construction Zones

by Victor Lopez
NewsWest 9

ODESSA--City and law enforcement officials agree, it all comes down drivers not paying attention.  Unfortunately, the end results can be tragic. 

"Workers have actually been killed because people are careless in their actions," Cpl. Jamie Brown with the Odessa Police Department, said.

Hal Feldman, Traffic Coordinator for the City of Odessa says they take all the precautions they can and provide all the training possible to make sure their employees are safe on the job, especially if they're on the streets, "A lot of the training we do here in the city is traffic control, setting up cones, setting up barrels, setting up signs."

The vehicles and signs have LED lights and worker vests are brighter colors, but sometimes it takes a little more than that.

"Because it's not guaranteed that the drivers are going to pay attention to the workers, the workers have to keep an eye on traffic and what drivers are doing," Feldman explained.

Some workers say they've had trash thrown at them from passing cars.  Brown says that's a criminal offense, "If it doesn't cause serious bodily injury, then it's just a class "C" misdemeanor and they could be fined up to $500."

Others have almost been hit by passing cars.   If someone were to have died, that's a serious traffic offense with serious consequences.

"They can be charged with manslaughter, which was caused by their recklessness," Cpl. Brown said.

Brown and Feldman agree, the bottom line when driving is pay attention, "Give the workers out there a break.  They're trying to get a job done to make it easier to get around on the streets."

One thing to be aware of, if you're driving and a passenger in your vehicle does something that violates a work zone law, you can be held legally responsible for their actions.