The Kansas Department of Transportation and numerous transportation partners who work along the roadways know why work zone safety is so important. KDOT Highway Maintenance Supervisor Kade Cooper says he was forced to yell at the crew in the work zone and throw his flagging paddle towards the middle of the lane that he was standing in and then fling himself into the ditch to avoid being hit. Cooper says the flagging paddle made contact with the car where he would have been standing, and that is what finally got the driver’s attention. Another equipement operator says while out preparing to paint, he heard a loud boom, and when he turned around, there was a vehicle sandwiched between the wall and the attenuator,. The driver had fallen asleep at the wheel and hit the attenuator that was just behind him. Close calls are all too common for highway workers, law enforcement and emergency responders who are serving the public. Finding ways to improve work zone safety is imperative, according to KDOT State Transportation Engineer Burt Morey. This week is National Work Zone Awareness Week, which raises awareness of the dangers highway workers and motorists face in work zones. Last year in Kansas, there were 1,396 work zone crashes – 398 people were injured and five people were killed.