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Kansas: Bill Aims to Improve Safety for Highway Workers

Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius has signed a bill created to provide better protections for highway workers throughout the state.

The bill, SB 411, requires traffic on four-lane highways to move away from vehicles engaged in highway construction or maintenance operations when those vehicles are displaying an amber flashing light.

"Our road crews work in dangerous situations, which is why we need to slow down in work zones and give them an extra margin of safety," Sebelius said.

Last year in Kansas eight people were killed and 460 people were injured in work zone crashes.

The Kansas Department of Transportation alone had two tragic reminders of the dangers of working alongside highways. On June 1, 2005, KDOT equipment operator Marvin "Scotty" McDonald III was struck and killed while cleaning a roadside along US-75 north of Topeka.

Two months later, on Aug. 1, 2005, equipment operator Richard Cunningham was killed on K-130 near Neosho Rapids.

Equipment operator Gary Burroughs was injured in the same crash when a semi trailer struck their dump truck. Burroughs spent nearly 2 months in the hospital and is still undergoing outpatient therapy.

These incidents led KDOT to push for this legislation, which will take effect upon publication in the state's statute book.

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