CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - It can be a challenge to stay safe on the job when your 'office' involves standing on a busy road as traffic zooms by.
Monday marks the start of National Work Zone Awareness Week, and the Missouri Department of Transportation has a goal of making sure their employees who repair roads get home safe to their families every night.
Maintenance supervisor Fred Drury has worked for MODOT for 15 years and can still remember how uncomfortable he was during his first job replacing concrete on the interstate.
"I just remember my first few days all I could do was watch traffic," Drury said. "Because you're not used to semi's going by at 75 miles per hour, 80 miles per hour and you're standing there on the centerline. I don't know if you should ever get used to it."
Drury said he has seen some close calls when he or someone else was almost hit by traffic in a work zone, and thinks texting and driving has made it more dangerous.
"A lot of people we notice going down the road they're not focusing on driving the vehicle, they're focusing on the phone so it's kind of scary out there sometimes," he said. "The moment you pick up that phone and decide to read that text, it could impact your life and a lot of other people's lives forever."
According to MODOT statistics 50 people have died in work zone crashes in the last 5 years, and 13 of those deaths came in 2017 alone.
Drury believes work zone awareness week is about everyone doing their part to make these dangerous work zones a little safer.
"One is to many," Drury said. "We're doing our part to be seen using all of the equipment we have. So we ask that the public do their part and when you see us in the road way, we are out there doing a job. Please slow down, put the phone down and buckle up."