MO.gov News Feed: Secretary of State /news-rss?filter=secretary_of_state MO.gov News Feed: Secretary of State Tue, 20 Feb 2018 01:44:10 +0000 en-us Statewide Benefits Are Numerous From CA-7 Draft Project List http://modotblog.blogspot.com/2014/06/statewide-benefits-are-numerous-from-ca.html tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-8832026755264748338.post-2122117591819363238 Mon, 30 Jun 2014 10:44:00 +0000 Dear Missourians,Last week Ed Hassinger, chief engineer at the Missouri Department of Transportation, briefed the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission on the draft project list that will be delivered over the next 10 years if Constitutional Amendment 7 passes on August 5. Following Ed’s overview about the collaborative process with planning partners and others that has been used to develop this list, each MoDOT district engineer highlighted projects that would be realized in their respective regions.  I hope you will agree with me, this list is impressive and offers across-the-board benefits that we have never been able to achieve before: A six-lane Interstate 70 across the stateSome 400 bridge projects including 5 major river crossings3,200 miles of roadway resurfacing750 miles of new shoulders on rural highways 29 interchange improvements7 upgrades to port facilities14 railway projects 23 airport improvements Statewide public transportation improvements, including new equipment and increased hours/days of service 61 sidewalk and non-motorized transportation projectsPublic comments are being accepted at www.modot.org/movingforward until 5 p.m., July 3. So far, more than 800 comments have been received. Based on this input, final adjustments will be made to the list and presented to the Commission for approval on July 9.In the coming weeks, I’ll take a closer look at the projects that are included on the final list to illustrate how they represent a new transportation future for Missouri.If you would like to communicate with the Commission, you can always reach us at MHTC@modot.mo.gov. Onward!Stephen R. MillerChairman Inspectors Snoop Under Bridges to Check Conditions http://modotblog.blogspot.com/2014/06/inspectors-snoop-under-bridges-to-check.html tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-8832026755264748338.post-3913752624891302986 Thu, 05 Jun 2014 13:01:00 +0000 An under bridge inspection unit, also known as a snooper truck, is an odd looking vehicle that causes many who see it to do a bit of a double take. On May 27, there were many spectators at Table Rock Lake in Branson, MO that did just that. While they were watching from the lake front, dam observatory and occasionally from idling boats, a four-man MoDOT crew was assisting the Army Corps of Engineers in the inspection of the dam.The under bridge inspection unit on location in Branson that day is one of only three in the state. With so few units statewide, each truck and crew covers a large portion of Missouri and its bridges. All three crews are part of the Bridge Management Section of the Bridge Division.The trucks and the crews that operate them are an invaluable asset when it comes to making sure the bridges of Missouri are safe for motorists. Every bridge in Missouri is inspected regularly for safety. If a disaster happens, a bridge must be inspected immediately before motorists will be allowed to drive on it for their safety.In order for the crew to inspect under the bridge, the snooper truck can extend its arm allowing the operator to go off the side of the bridge. A counter weight on the truck prevents the unit from tipping over. The arm is then maneuvered into position underneath the bridge for inspection. The truck’s arm can lower itself and reach a total of 62 feet across the width of a bridge for the inspector to check for cracks, damage and deterioration. If a crack is found, it is measured and evaluated to make sure it is not compromising the integrity of the bridge. Not all cracks are equal. While bridges will have cracks, the crew is looking for cracks in areas of stress, or cracks that show growth from a previous inspection. They also are testing the thickness of the steel in areas of section loss caused by rust to make sure it is still in good condition. According to the bridge inspection crew, it is not uncommon to close up to two bridges a month in need of immediate repairs. The bridge deterioration can be caused by numerous things. It can be from the salt and abrasives added during winter to help keep ice off the bridges that cannot be reached to wash away, or simply from fatigue over time caused by heavy trucks passing over it. In Missouri, there are more than 10,400 state bridges. A total of 208 bridges are considered “major” meaning they exceed 1,000 feet in length. Currently 47 of those major bridges are considered to be in poor condition while an additional 97 are only considered to be in fair condition. Overall a total of 6,598 bridges are in fair to poor condition. Don’t Forget to Wash Behind Your…Bridges? http://modotblog.blogspot.com/2014/05/dont-forget-to-wash-behind-yourbridges_15.html tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-8832026755264748338.post-4566866681143432329 Thu, 15 May 2014 08:10:00 +0000 Starting at MoDOT I knew I had a lot to learn. Each day is a new lesson on how MoDOT works and what we do to provide a world-class transportation experience. While I am trying to take in all of this new information, one thing that I heard recently I didn’t expect. MoDOT washes bridges.After making sure my coworkers were not pulling a fast one on the new guy I wanted to learn more about this process and why we do it. I reached out to Maintenance Liaison Engineer Michael Shea who was happy to help a new MoDOT employee learn about this maintenance procedure. During the winter season salt is put on the roads to help melt the ice and provide safer driving conditions for Missourians. When the weather gets warmer it is common to wash your car so the salt and abrasives don’t start to cause erosion and rust. In order to keep the bridges free from the same salt and abrasives that could lead to deterioration on your car, MoDOT washes Missouri bridges twice a year using flush trucks, sweepers, and other equipment. It doesn’t matter if the bridge is new or old, it will be washed before and after the winter season.Washing the top surface of the bridge is only half the battle. Many bridges have expansions joints that can start to leak due to the forces of nature hitting them over time. These leaks can lead to salt and abrasives getting down underneath the bridge. Although it can be harder to get to and may require the use of scaffolding, washing underneath the bridge is just as important as the side you drive on in order to maintain a better bridge.If you ever come across a maintenance crew blasting water on a bridge remember they are there helping keep that bridge healthy for you to drive on for years to come.     All Aboard for National Train Day! http://modotblog.blogspot.com/2014/05/all-aboard-for-national-train-day.html tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-8832026755264748338.post-8458219939460269940 Mon, 12 May 2014 08:20:00 +0000 This Saturday May 10 is the 7th annual National Train Day! This national celebration serves as a way to inform the public about the advantages of traveling by rail and to focus on the history of trains in the United States! In other words it is a day to celebrate how awesome trains are!I don’t know about you, but I spend a fair amount of time glued to the television. By “fair amount” I mean there are occasional moments when I look away to double check that my surroundings are not currently on fire before focusing back on the magical box in the center of my living room. Television has fostered a love of trains. When I was young there was Thomas the Train and the freight cars of Conjunction Junction on School House Rock.  Later in life I would see how amazing trains are in films such as From Russia with Love where James Bond fought villains on the Orient Express. From the early days of Buster Keaton in The Generalto Denzel Washington in Unstoppable, trains have been a captivating mode of transportation. Take time this Saturday, May 10 to unglue from the television and see a real train. This anniversary of the 1869 completion of the transcontinental railroad can be your moment to learn more than what the silver screen shows you with events that include train displays, model train exhibits and kid friendly activities. Learn more about the events at www.nationaltrainday.com.  In Missouri, there are events taking place for National Train Day in La Plata, Kansas City and St. Louis.  Get out and join in the festivities this Saturday. You can always record 3:10 to Yuma or the Polar Express and watch them some other time. All aboard for a great day of trains! Don't PLOW Into Farmers This Growing Season http://modotblog.blogspot.com/2014/04/dont-plow-into-farmers-this-growing.html tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-8832026755264748338.post-3221482007562916513 Wed, 30 Apr 2014 09:45:00 +0000 If you grew up in a small rural town of Missouri it is very likely that you are not a stranger to slowing down while driving because some farm equipment is slowly going down a rural highway. I remember how annoyed I would get when I got stuck behind agriculture equipment on the road. I had places to go, people to see, and blockbuster movies to watch! The idea of “share the road” was lost on a younger me. I realize now that the young impatient driver I used to be was a jerk!Agriculture is a huge part of Missouri’s economy and the food they grow might be the food on your plate and the plate of others around the world. These men and women are not out there on the road just to ruin your drive time, they are doing their job.To all the farmers that I flew by in my younger years I apologize, and I urge my fellow drivers to be respectful of Missouri farmers and slow down and stay back from farm equipment on the road. It won’t take much time before you are able to safely go around them and on your way.Drive safe. Be courteous. Arrive alive.  Celebrations and Safety http://modotblog.blogspot.com/2014/04/celebrations-and-safety.html tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-8832026755264748338.post-746418402912897871 Fri, 25 Apr 2014 08:13:00 +0000 “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go...” ― Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You'll Go!It’s that time of year again. The time of year when you see teens dressed in tuxedos and elegant dresses at your local Applebee’s and hear high school bands playing “Pomp and Circumstance” which will remain in your head for the following week. The season of emotional parents, embarrassed teens, and so many pictures your camera is likely to call in the extra help of your cell phone. Prom and Graduation are major events in the lives of the American teen and their family. While the valedictorian is likely to quote the Dr. Seuss classic “Oh, The Places You’ll Go!” It is up to you to make sure that the places your teen will go won’t end on those momentous nights.Talking to teens can at times seem like asking for an argument. I won’t say that you shouldn't expect the classic exaggerated eye roll, or even the annoyed “I know!” over and over as a response. Regardless of these inevitable reactions it is important to talk with your teen about safety. Tips For Parents Know and discuss the school code of conduct before the prom with your student. Know who your daughter or son is attending the prom with and discuss the events for pre and post prom parties with other parents. Talk with your student about the dangers of club drugs, warning signs and who to notify for assistance. Discuss responses  he or she can use to get out of uncomfortable situations. (e.g., offered alcohol, intoxicated driver, unwanted sexual advances, etc.) Discuss guidelines and a curfew. Discuss the consequences of violating these rules. Discuss travel plans, use a reputable limousine service that will not allow a person to bring, serve or introduce alcohol into the vehicle. Know who is driving to the prom and who will be a passenger. Limit the number of passengers to increase safety and reduce driver distractions. Know the location of post prom parties and who is sponsoring them. Talk to your teenager about the serious dangers and consequences of drinking and driving. Remember that Missouri has a Zero Tolerance Law.  If you are under 21, your license will be suspended if you’re caught driving with even a trace of alcohol in your system.Consider some of the consequences if you choose to drive impaired:If you cause a fatal crash while intoxicated, you can be charged with involuntary manslaughter, a felony resulting in up to seven years of prison time, a $5,000 fine or both. Your license can be suspended for 90 days on your first conviction. You could be fined up to $500 and spend up to 6 months in jail.A second conviction results in a yearlong revocation of your license. You could be fined up to $1,000 and spend up to one year in jail. Any person guilty of a second or subsequent intoxication-related traffic offense will be required to install an ignition interlock device on their car before reinstating driving privileges.Minors may additionally be subject to a Minor in Possession citation resulting in license suspension for 90 days for first offense. This is in addition to any suspension resulting from point assessment on an alcohol conviction.If you refuse a sobriety test, you can lose your license on the spot and have your car impounded.Talk to your teen about the importance of safety. While prom and graduation are momentous occasions in their lives, they are just the start of many more to come over the years. Make sure they know all they need to know so they can go places they will go. Remembering Captain Planet this Earth Day http://modotblog.blogspot.com/2014/04/remembering-captain-planet-this-earth.html tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-8832026755264748338.post-8404015244017405150 Tue, 22 Apr 2014 10:38:00 +0000 Happy Earth Day!If you are a certain age you are well aware that Smokey the Bear wanted you to help prevent forest fires and Snuff McGruff wanted you to help him “take a bite outta crime.” These were just little cartoon commercials, but they still planted that idea of what you should do to help out. Growing up there was no better program on television that instilled the idea of taking the time and effort to improve the ecosystem, while still being an action packed show that you and your friends played on the playground, than Captain Planet!Every episode had a lesson about the necessity of not polluting the earth. When the evil polluting villains became too much for the Planeteers to handle they called on Captain Planet to help save the day. Looking back this Superman with a green mullet that enforced ecofriendly behavior was a crazy idea for a kid show. Can you imagine hearing that story pitch? There would be a good amount of laughter if I heard it before saying, “wait are you serious?”It has been many years since I have watched the show Captain Planet, but every Earth Day I think back on the time I spent watching that show, or arguing over who would be Captain Planet and who would be a Planeteer on the playground. Whether you remember the cartoon or not, take time this Earth Day to be a Planeteer again. Teach the children you love those ecological lessons you learned. Show them the importance of planting a tree, recycling, picking up trash, not leaving the water running and changing out old light bulbs for more energy efficient ones.  If you live in Missouri take time this Friday April 25 to come to Jefferson City and celebrate Earth Day! The celebration will be from 10 AM to 2 PM on the State Capitol south lawn. It will be a day of fun and education with exhibits, presentations and crafts! While you are there, you will learn about the Adopt-A-Highway program, which is in its 27th year, and how to volunteer to help make Missouri roads cleaner, more attractive and better for the environment.You will also hear about the annual No MOre Trash! Bash. The Trash Bash encourages folks to avoid littering in the first place and picking up others' trash to help the environment and the wildlife such as birds, fish, turtles and others that can become entangled or otherwise harmed by it.Peanut the TurtleOne such case is the story of Peanut the Turtle. When a young turtle crawled into a six-pack ring that stayed around her as she grew, the trash deformed her shell into the shape of a peanut. Peanut survived, the ring was removed and she has lived with the Missouri Department of Conservation as their environmental spokesturtle since 1993. Take time this Earth Day to be a Planeteer again. Educate the young ones in your life on the importance of making the world a better and cleaner place to live and help make stories like Peanut the Turtle's a thing of the past. Remember, “the power is yours!”Find out more information on how you can help the environment at:Adopt-A-Highway - http://www.modot.org/services/community/adoptahighway.htmNo MOre Trash! Bash - http://nomoretrash.org/Jefferson City Earth Day - https://www.dnr.mo.gov/earthday/ Starting a Road Trip to Adventure http://modotblog.blogspot.com/2014/04/starting-road-trip-to-adventure.html tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-8832026755264748338.post-9140421228738524706 Thu, 17 Apr 2014 15:27:00 +0000 "Winds in the east, there's a mist comin' inLike somethin' is brewin' and 'bout to begin.Can't put me finger on what lies in store,But I feel what's to happen all happened before.”                                         -Richard and Robert ShermanConway Welcome Center                       As the cold winds of winter blow warmer each day, a spark is rekindled in the hearts of many Missourians. That spark is the inspiration for adventure, family fun and the open road.Like many of my fellow Missourians I remember piling in the family car and taking off for great American destinations every summer. As my brother and I piled into the back seat of the car with our minds racing about what “I spy” item would really stump the other during the drive, I would always have that feeling that something exciting was about to begin.While a detour was usually made to visit grandparents or a nearby cave there was always one stop that we made before leaving the state and one stop before returning home. It was a constant that we would stop at a Missouri rest area. It allowed space to stretch our legs, get a drink, use the restroom and convince my dad to completely unpack the trunk to find the GameBoy that I had packed in my suitcase. As a kid these stops were markers for the vacation in my mind. Going on a drive was common, but when we stopped at a rest area it was the launching pad for a vacation adventure! We were headed somewhere new, fun and exciting. On the way home the same rest areas were a welcome sight as they told me we were close to home. With 15 rest areas and eight welcome centers on Missouri Interstates it is easy to find a good break point regardless of if you are launching into a family vacation, returning home from a long trip, or just need a place to pull off the road for a minute.  An estimated 16.5 million visitors will stop at a Missouri rest area this year to enjoy their amenities and a much needed moment to stretch and walk around. Take time to get to know the Missouri rest area’s and welcome centers at, http://www.modot.org/services/travel/restarea/. Catch that spark this summer and let the Missouri roads lead you on an adventure!Not looking to leave the Missouri this summer? There is plenty of adventure right here in the Show-Me State! Go to http://www.visitmo.com/ for an amazing list of vacations right here at home! Work Zone Press Conference Highlights Safety http://modotblog.blogspot.com/2014/04/work-zone-press-conference-highlights.html tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-8832026755264748338.post-4935048601462320227 Wed, 09 Apr 2014 16:03:00 +0000 On Tuesday, April 8, Southwest District Engineer Becky Baltz, MoDOT Chief Engineer Ed Hassinger and Highway Patrol Lieutenant Dan Bracker gathered in Springfield to talk to reporters about work zone awareness at MoDOT's statewide news conference.Baltz opened the press conference by thanking MoDOT's partners and all the highway workers represented.  In addition to MoDOT and the highway patrol, local public works departments, emergency response, and law enforcement were on hand to support the cause. She asked that motorists watch out for everyone who helps keep Missouri moving, so everyone can go home safely each night.Ed Hassinger and Lt. Bracker took the opportunity to talk about Missouri's "Move Over Law". The law requires motorists to move over one lane and give extra room whenever they see emergency or roadwork vehicles on the side of the road with flashing lights on."The law is simple," Hassinger said. "If you see a vehicle with flashing lights on, move over and give some room. If you can't move over, you are required to slow down and proceed cautiously past the vehicles and workers."Lt. Bracker said that in 2013, the Missouri State Highway Patrol spent almost 1,800 hours on construction work zone enforcement operations. They made 569 arrests and issued 637 warnings."The Missouri state Highway Patrol is committed to providing the safest possible highway transportation system for everyone who uses our highways, builds our highways and maintains our highways," said Bracker. "We will continue to make work zone enforcement one of our top priorities throughout the year."Hassinger also discussed the future of transportation and how lack of transportation funding will change Missouri's work zones. "MoDOT's focus is increasingly on preservation of the existing transportation system," he said. "By 2017 our budget will fall well under what it takes to maintain what we've got, and that could lead to the deterioration of highways across the state."Regardless of the work taking place, the most important message of the day was safety. When motorists pay attention and drive with caution through work zones, that means fewer crashes, fewer fatalities, and fewer injuries. Drivers play a key role in making work zones safe for everyone - especially themselves. Paging Dr. Bridges http://modotblog.blogspot.com/2013/07/paging-dr-bridges.html tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-8832026755264748338.post-3219521759933275874 Fri, 12 Jul 2013 13:59:00 +0000 Central Missouri motorists might see a tricked-out van similar to this driving on and around bridges.It belongs to a company called Penetradar. They use ground-penetrating radar to evaluate pavement - as in this image from their website. It's also great for analyzing bridge decks.Think of it as a giant CAT scan or MRI. Back in the day, doctors often operated with minimal information - maybe an X-ray and a list of symptoms. Surgery was measured in hours and recovery in weeks. Now before surgery, doctors and technicians gather information so they know what they'll face in the operating room. Some surgeries are down to minutes and often patients go home the same day.MoDOT is planning to start some bridge work in the Columbia area soon, so the van is gathering data. That information will help identify issues within the bridge that need addressing before a single cut is made in the pavement.That helps the repair contractor. They'll know what they are facing before they open the surface. Fewer surprises make for less stressful, more profitable work.It helps MoDOT. Fewer surprises make for fewer last-minute (often expensive) fixes and keep work zone time to a minimum.But most of all, it helps motorists. When a contractor knows what they'll face, they can "operate" and get out of drivers' way more quickly.Now...this will only hurt a little bit... Monster Trucks: Hugenormous Edition http://modotblog.blogspot.com/2013/04/monster-trucks-hugenormous-edition.html tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-8832026755264748338.post-3693283569655225946 Mon, 22 Apr 2013 10:30:00 +0000 So, say you have some natural gas lying around and you want to extract hydrocarbon liquids from it. You're going to need a demethanizer tower. Problem is, those towers are huge and must be built in one shot. On site assembly of smaller parts isn't possible. How do you get it from the manufacturing plant to your site?You call an oversize/overweight load specialty motor carrier. These pros work with MoDOT to determine a safe route, design a trailer/tire layout that distributes the weight evenly and ensure the load can safely travel all the bridges, exits and corners on the route.In many cases, the carrier also contacts the Missouri State Highway Patrol. Troopers assist in escorting the largest and/or most complicated movements. This demethanizer load was 12' wide, 15' 3" tall and 240' longfrom bumper to bumper. (A football field is 300' long.)From centuries-old houses to manufacturing equipment to wind turbine elements, MoDOT and the Patrol have assisted in thousands of safe trips.  It takes time, patience and some expense to arrange such a move, but it sure beats trying to build a demethanizer tower from scratch! Work Zone Safety - From a Widow's Perspective http://modotblog.blogspot.com/2013/04/work-zone-safety-from-widows-perspective.html tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-8832026755264748338.post-3914722722352547613 Wed, 17 Apr 2013 10:00:00 +0000 A plea - from the wife of Dennis Beard, who was killed in an Illinois work zone in 2012. Let her words sound in your ears any time you see construction or flashing yellow lights.This (click to see photos) is my husband, Dennis. The most important part of his life was his family and friends. Second was his work. Dennis was very passionate about his work, the people who worked for him, and their safety and well being. On May 22nd Dennis, his nephews Kory Links and Adam Evans, and his friend Brian Moore were all struck by a vehicle while doing their jobs. Dennis was killed by this driver whom was driving dangerously and erratically at a high rate of speed in a construction zone. Dennis was not killed instantly, but lived a very short while, alert and thinking he was going to survive. Because of one person's negligence, Dennis' precious life was taken from us and the lives of his family have been changed forever.I cannot explain the devastation this has caused our family. We lost our dear Dennis - a husband, a father, a son, a brother, an uncle, a great-uncle, a cousin, and a friend to many, many people. If you just try to imagine what it would be like to have to come home and tell your children who walk in the door smiling that their dad was just killed at work - you would think about how IMPORTANT it is to pay attention and slow down in work zones. Our family will never be the same because of the constant pain we feel and the huge hole we now have in our family and hearts.Please let me tell you a little bit about Dennis. Most importantly, Dennis was not ready to leave this earth. He had many things left unfinished. He has three children - Tessa age 12, James 8, and Alayna 4. He just recently involved his children and nephews in go-kart racing. Dennis spent every waking hour outside of work working on the go-karts for the next following week’s race. He loved the outdoors and wanted his kids to love it too. He took them boating, camping, hunting, snowmobiling, four-wheeling, racing, and most recently they began fishing together. Dennis had a big heart and was always very giving to everyone he knew and met.The single most important thing that you can do for our family and other families who have loved ones working on the roads is to be patient, pay attention, and slow down in construction zones. Everyone wants their loved ones to return home every single day from work. My husband left for work and was gone from this earth three hours later. We didn’t even have a chance to say good bye.Sincerely,Josie BeardSee pictures of Dennis, Josie and their family here. Work Zone Safety - Why It's a Big Deal http://modotblog.blogspot.com/2013/04/work-zone-safety-why-its-big-deal.html tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-8832026755264748338.post-5374833862350458237 Tue, 16 Apr 2013 10:00:00 +0000 April 15-19 is Work Zone Awareness Week for 2013.We tend to think EVERY week is Work Zone Awareness Week at MoDOT. Just like everyone else, we want to get home safe at the end of our workday. We'll do whatever it takes to help make that happen.In our work, we see too many times what happens when someone behaves in an unsafe manner. We've been called to thousands of crash scenes to help direct traffic while emergency crews and law enforcement assist injured motorists.We've been the first to respond when a car or truck slams into one of our dump trucks. We've called 911 or *55 when an inattentive driver plows into the back of someone observing a slower work zone speed limit. We've held the hands of our dying coworkers and promised to relay their messages of love to their spouses and families.That's why it's a big deal.Now that you know the impact of unsafe behavior, we hope you make safe driving in work zones - and everywhere else - a big deal. In His Own Words: Help Us Make it Home http://modotblog.blogspot.com/2013/04/in-his-own-words-help-us-make-it-home.html tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-8832026755264748338.post-7605275875328190133 Mon, 15 Apr 2013 10:16:00 +0000 Clifton Scott's story is riveting. Clifton worked for MoDOT a long time, starting with our highway crews. He was very upset by a work zone crash that occurred in 2001 and in an interview with KMBC TV- 9 of Kansas City, he issued a plea to motorists.Last fall, as he worked the scene of a crash as a Motorist Assist operator, a speeding driver struck and killed Clifton. His haunting words serve as a reminder. When you see a highway worker - or a utility crew member, law enforcement, tow truck operators or anyone else rendering service on or near a road - pay extra attention. Take extra care. Do it out of kindness. Do it because you respect their service. Do it because you know that they, like you, just want to make it home. Anita's Close Call Story - That Little Voice http://modotblog.blogspot.com/2013/01/anitas-close-call-story-that-little.html tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-8832026755264748338.post-7577031461480134151 Tue, 29 Jan 2013 16:50:00 +0000 Anita of Springfield, Mo., asked to share her story. It sounds familiar to many of us who have struggled with the temptation to multi-task while driving. If you have a story about transportation that you would like to share, please contact us at socialmedia@modot.mo.gov.It was a typical Tuesday; the work day is over and like a lot of families it’s time to hustle the kids to evening activities. I pick up my son around 5:30 pm and head to the high school. He wants to go to the game. I need to pick my daughter up at 6:00 pm from dance class so the timing is just right. After dropping him off at the game it’s onto dance. Taking Battlefield Road to Highway 65 seems to be the logical route so that’s the direction I choose. Lots of traffic, stop and go, it’s evening rush hour. Bummer, this is going to take awhile.To pass the time I decide to make a call. I’ll just maneuver through traffic while chatting, something I do often, and the 10 minute drive to dance class won’t seem so daunting. I grab my phone. But as I’m turning onto the exit ramp, a little voice in my head suggests I probably should pay attention to what I’m doing. It’s not like I had anything earth shattering to discuss, so I toss the phone down onto the passenger seat.I merge onto Highway 65, within seconds traffic is up to full speed. Bumper to bumper, vehicles switching lanes, you know the drill. I’m staying in the right lane as I’ll be exiting shortly onto James River Freeway. Like most people behind the wheel at this time my mind is reviewing the day’s events and calculating what’s left to do. I glance ahead and notice the car in front of me is breaking, so I tap mine too but quickly let off in order to keep the pace. A fraction of a second passes, I glance again and realize the car isn’t breaking; it’s at a dead stop. Moving at nearly 65 mph, I slam on my breaks. The car in front of me juts out to the right shoulder just in time to avoid hitting the vehicle in front of it and to avoid being hit by me. My view instantly shifts to the rear view mirror, and in the next second I notice a pickup truck behind me and hear its screeching breaks. The truck swerves to the right shoulder to avoid impact and I manage to come to a jolting stop with only inches to spare. After breathing a quick sigh of relief I then see a huge truck barreling toward me... I close my eyes and brace for impact.In these few seconds of shear panic, the all-important moments of my life, my family, my kids, all of it really did flash before my eyes. I couldn’t believe this is how it was all going to end. Was I ready?No impact. My eyes open and see that the truck has stopped. I exhale, and begin to slowly move forward. About half a dozen car lengths ahead I see what’s caused this near miss. It’s a plastic chair partially blocking the right hand lane. I’m disturbed that this little plastic chair almost caused a terrible accident. I exit onto James River Freeway and say a few thank-you prayers.Suddenly, it becomes clear to me the message this close call had truly intended. The plastic chair hadn’t almost caused the accident. It wasn’t about the chair at all. If I had made the choice to make that call seconds earlier, I would have been distracted; I would not have been able to stop. If anyone involved would have been talking, texting or updating their social media status, they would have not been able to stop. This accident was avoided simply because I listened to the voice that whispered to me, "Pay attention."Using our phones while driving is manageable, right? Accidents won’t happen to us, we’re good drivers, right? Wrong. Distracted driving can cause serious accidents, injuries, and death. It happens every day. I encourage you to give merit to the little voice you hear and think twice the next time it nudges you, as mine did. Doing so could very possibly could save your life and the lives of others. Anita