WENY News - Local DOT workers urge drivers to slow down, use caution in work

Local DOT workers urge drivers to slow down, use caution in work zones

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HORSEHEADS, N.Y. (WENY) -- On Thursday, department officials and local leaders spoke out about the dangers of highway work zones
    
It's something Arthur Payne, a state highway worker, knows all too well.

"We're out there every day trying to keep the roads safe and it seems like no one cares," says Payne.

Six months after a car rear-ended the dump truck he was working in, he's still dealing with the aftermath. 

"He pushed me 1,000 feet down the center wall," says Payne. "I ended up with bruises on the backs of my legs, on the sides from the seatbelt, down my ribs from the armrest and tore the muscles in my neck, resulting in severe headaches."

William Kaner has a similar story. He was working when a car veered into his work zone, struck a tractor trailer and sent a large piece of aluminum flying. Thankfully he was wearing a helmet, but the driver never stopped. 

In 2017, there were 660 reported accidents in New York work zones; 10 fatal with 160 injuries.

"The people you see day in and day out--on their cell phones, on their laptops, reading books, reading newspapers-- it's not just a once in a while occurrence," says Kaner. "It's a daily occurrence."

Now state agencies are working together.

State Police have increased their presence in work zones. They're also cracking down on offenders. Meanwhile all state departments also working to raise awareness about the dangers of distracted driving.

"It's dangerous for all of us," says Kaner. "I'd like to go home every night. I don't want to be a statistic on the side of the highway somewhere."

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