LEE COUNTY, Miss. (WCBI) – Across the state, hundreds of road maintenance workers are taking to the highways to cut that fast-growing grass.
Recently, however, there’s been a safety concern with our state’s road workers, specifically the ones cutting grass.
Drivers aren’t following the state’s “slow down and move over” law, something law enforcement is making a push towards enforcing.
“You must slow down or move over for maintenance vehicles, and so our road crews are included in that, and we want them to be safe,” said Sarah Davis, Chief Ranger of the Natchez Trace Parkway.
Highways like that Natchez Trace have a lot of grass to be mowed, near 8,000 acres along its 444 miles, meaning more chances for roadside accidents.
“The parkway is a very narrow roadway, and the grass goes right up to the edge. And so they are mowing all along the edge of the roadway,” said Davis.
If you’ve looked at the Trace, many areas don’t have shoulders, and that puts workers within an arm’s length of a moving car.
“They have laws involving bicyclists. You’ve got to give them the lane, the whole lane. We need the lane,” said Natchez Trace maintenance worker, David McVay
McVay has only worked for the Natchez Trace for the last year.
He said even though the proper signage is put up to inform drivers, they still aren’t moving over.
“I’ve got children and grandchildren, and these people that are driving down the road have children,” he said, trying to find common ground with drivers. “Do they want to take a grandfather out or do they want to spend the rest of their life in jail because of something they did that was illegal?”
Mike Powell, however, has been with the Trace for 26 years and has actually had his tractor hit by a vehicle.
“A little Geo Metro came up and hit the back of the bush hogg,” Powell said. “He totaled his car out. Nobody was hurt, you know, fortunately. We had our signs out and lights going. He just wasn’t paying attention.”
Workers like McVay and Powell say the small sacrifice of time ensures everyone gets through the workzone safely.
“You don’t want to hurt anybody or get hurt just because, you know, you’re trying to save a little time,” Powell said.
“You may have to stop and wait for oncoming traffic, but they need to move over,” McVay added.
The next time you see mowers or any worker on one of our busy highways, do yourself a favor.
Driver slower and move over.