Caltrans workers are asking drivers to slow down and pay attention after a close call on Highway 101 over the weekend.
“I remember telling my wife that there was no way anybody could survive that,” said Ronnie Hernandez, who drove by the aftermath of Saturday’s crash.
According to the California Highway Patrol, a distracted driver slammed his pickup truck into the back of a Caltrans vehicle near San Luis Bay Drive.
Many people were shocked it wasn’t fatal.
“That’s how bad the truck looked,” Hernandez said. “I am amazed that anybody made it through it.”
Luckily, the Caltrans driver was not in the vehicle.
“The one thing we don’t want to hear about or receive an email or phone call about is one of our own being injured or worse while working on the state highway system while serving the people of California,” said Jim Shivers, Caltrans District 5 spokesperson.
A Caltrans maintenance safety officer says crews are busy right now with mowing operations, putting crews at an increased risk.
“Mowing obviously consists of working on the shoulder and in the median and so we are really out there right next to the lines, the fog lines and the yellow lines,” said Dionisio Gonzalez, District 5 maintenance safety officer.
Flashing emergency lights mean slow down and move over.
“The move-over law requires a driver to move to the next available lane when safe to do so in the presence of amber lights,” Shivers said.
Safety clearance is not only for utility workers but law enforcement officers, first responders and tow trucks, as well.
“Understand that for the men and women of Caltrans, the roadway is essentially their office and we would ask the public to respect that,” Shivers said.
When you see police, firefighters, tow truck drivers or Caltrans workers on the side of the road, you need to move over.
It’s not a request or a suggestion, it’s the law.
“I hope this is a wake-up call that distracted driving is out there and it can be dangerous,” Gonzalez said. “We were lucky this time but next time, I don’t know.”
According to Caltrans, nearly 200 workers have died since 1921. Eight of them were from our local District 5.