Thursday, October 20, 2016

Five reminders for National Teen Driver Safety Week

Studies show that the leading cause of death for teen drivers between the ages of 15-19 is motor vehicle crashes. In 2014, there were 2,679 teen drivers involved in fatal crashes and approximately 123,000 teens were injured in crashes in the U.S.
In an effort to raise awareness about five very real driving dangers, KDOT is participating in National Teen Driver Safety Week and would like to remind teen drivers of a few things:


Your car is not a phone booth: You aren’t superman, but you can be a hero if you don’t use your cellphone while driving. 

     Your car is not a clown car: There are a lot of crazy clowns running around. Too many passengers in your car can lead to distracted driving.

        Your car is not a race car:  Race cars belong on the race track, not on city streets. Driving at safe speeds can reduce car crashes. 

    Your car is not a bar:  Don't drink and drive. Alcohol leads to impaired driving and even death.

Your car is not invincible. Car crashes happen, and wearing your seat belt is one of the safest ways you can survive should you find yourself in a crash. 
If teens as well as all drivers follow these reminders, traffic fatalities and car crashes would be greatly reduced.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Sharing the road with farm equipment

Fall is in the air and that means it is planting and harvesting time for area farmers.  Farming vehicles may be on the roads more this time of year and KDOT would like to remind travelers to travel safely around these important pieces of equipment.

According to the Kansas Highway Patrol, most farm equipment cannot travel at highway speeds and they typically do not exceed 15-25 mph.

Kansans know this scene all too well: The route to and from work may require traveling on smaller state highways or roads and drivers may encounter a large tractor, combine or other farm equipment. 

Perhaps drivers grow frustrated with the situation and just wish it would get out of the way so they can get home.  Unfortunately, the road is curved and hilly. Passing this giant, slow-moving vehicle is unsafe.  

According to transportation laws as long as slow-moving vehicles have the orange triangle signage, they have just as much right to that road as vehicles that can go at a faster speed. 

Farming Equipment is often much larger and wider than other vehicles and the lanes of traffic. When driving around these slow-moving vehicles extra caution should be practiced.

Here are some tips from the KHP for sharing the road with farmers:

  • Don’t assume the farmer knows you’re there. Most operators of farm equipment regularly check for vehicles behind them, however, most of their time must be spent looking ahead to stay on the road and watch for oncoming traffic. Implements are very loud, hindering the farmer’s ability to hear your vehicle. 
  • Pass with extreme caution.  Don’t pass unless you can see clearly ahead of both your vehicle and the farm equipment you are passing. If there are curves or hills blocking your view of oncoming traffic, wait until you can clearly visualize the area you’re passing in. You should not pass in a designated “No Passing Zone,” even if you are stuck behind a farm vehicle. Do not pass if you are within 100 feet of any intersection, railroad grade crossing, bridge, elevated structure, or tunnel.
  • When a farm vehicle pulls to the right side of the road, it does not mean it is turning right or allowing you to pass. Due to the size of some farm equipment, the farmer must execute wide left turns, so allow it plenty of room and time to turn, and be alert to see if there might be a driveway or field they may be turning into.
  • Be patient. Don’t assume that a farmer can move aside to let you pass. Shoulders may be soft, wet, or steep, which can cause the farm vehicle to tip, or the shoulder may not support the weight of a heavy farm vehicle. The farmer understands you are being delayed and will move over at the first safe location available.
  • Think of the slow moving vehicle emblem as a warning to adjust your speed. When you see the slow moving vehicle emblem, you should immediately slow down. While the emblems are visible from a long distance away, it is often difficult to judge the speed at which you are closing in on a vehicle, especially at night. 
  • Pay attention.  When you are not focused solely on the road, you increase your chances of a collision, especially if you should come upon a slow moving farm vehicle.

Check out this video for more information on how to share the road with other large, slow-moving vehicles safely. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

2016 Fly Kansas Tour a soaring success

George Laliberte, preps his Ercoupe plane as the sun rises on Day 1 of the 2016 Fly Kansas Air Tour. 

Nearly 40 airplanes took to the skies  to celebrate The 2016 Fly Kansas Air Tour Sept. 29 - Oct. . In an effort to raise awareness of the importance of the aviation industry in Kansas, nine Kansas Airports welcomed the traveling pilots and their planes.  Around 1500 students and the public got the chance to see a variety of planes up close and meet with the pilots who flew their airplanes across Kansas skies.
A parachuter soars with the American Flag trailing behind during the opening Ceremony of the 2016 Fly Kansas Air Tour.

The tour began just after sunrise on Sept. 29, in Wellington. Participants were given the opportunity to watch arriving aircraft. A T-6 Texan, a medical helicopter, a fly-over from a military aircraft and a parachuter  were all highlights to the opening ceremony.  

Pilot Lindsey Dreiling, explains how this Cessna 172 SkyHawk works to a group of students at the Rooks County airport. 
During the tour, the public and students learned about the influence that aviation has on the Kansas economy. At the Rooks County stop, air medics explained the importance of The Kansas Airport Improvement program, which was created to improve and maintain smaller airports while increasing air travel and access to an air ambulance within 30 miles.
An Aeronca Champion 7CCM sits on the ramp during a break in the tour as pilots refuel and gear up for the next stop. 

During the Topeka stop, Governor Sam Brownback and Interim Secretary Richard Carlson addressed a crowd of girl scouts and the public  during a stop celebrating Girls in Aviation at the Combat Air Museum in Topeka. Brownback encouraged the girl scouts to work hard and follow their dreams.

The Fly Kansas Air Tour first took flight in 1928 and again in 1929, but it was another 79 years before the tour returned in 2008. Another short hiatus later, Kansas skies once again welcomed the tour in 2014.  The Tour included stops in Wellington, Great Bend, Rooks County, Dodge City, Scott City, Colby, Salina, Topeka and ended in Newton. 

Check out this video highlighting some of the stops and activities during the Fly Kansas Air Tour!

Monday, October 17, 2016

Put the Brakes on Fatalities Day Contest Winners

Over the past few weeks leading up to this week’s Put the Brakes on Fatalities Day, KDOT has shared personal stories about the importance of traffic safety.

Part of this important message begins with our state’s youth. During the Put the Brakes on Fatalities Day campaign, students across the state had the opportunity to get powerful messages across in the form of posters or short informational videos.

Of the many poster entries three statewide winners were selected:

Brooklyn Green-Lawson
Age 7 
Riverton, Kan.

Sierra deKoning
Age 12
Axtell, Kan.

Kayleigh Flores
Age 9
Moscow, Kan.

To see more of the regional art winners click here

The video contest winners are linked below:
1stWichita East High School
2ndCardinal Productions, Eudora High School

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

#IAMKDOT: Joyce Poitevint

This month’s #IAMKDOT feature is Joyce Poitevint.

She began her career with KDOT in 1992 and worked at the KDOT sign shop for 20 years. Beginning in 2012, Poitevint became an engineering technician in the field for a year and half. This illustration of Poitevint was from her time as a field technician while working on the South Lawrence Traffic way in 2012. 

In 2014, Poitevint moved to KDOT headquarters as a traffic control technician. In August of this year, Poitevint was promoted to Lighting Technician.

Poitevint said that when she is not at work she enjoys farming and creating artwork. She is a god-mother, daughter, sister and friend.

#IAMKDOT is an illustration project that recognizes KDOT employees who work hard to ensure Kansans enjoy safe roads, rails and skies. Safe and successful transportation also helps Kansans financially. Some employees of KDOT fill dangerous but necessary positions and this project also serves as a reminder for travelers to slow down and remember that underneath those neon vests, are individuals with families and hobbies waiting for them at home.

Do you know a KDOT worker that deserves recognition? Nominations are open! Email today to get started! 

Tuesday, October 11, 2016


We wrapped up our eighth annual Put the Brakes on Fatalities Day blog series. Thank you so much to everyone who participated, and a special thank you to U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx for being a part of this series for the last several years.
Some of these were heartwarming stories, and some of these were stories about tragedies. But they all showed why traffic safety is so important. Every time you get in a car, in a truck, on a motorcycle, on a bike, or even walking, getting safely where you are going must be the priority.
Yesterday, Oct. 10, was the official day to celebrate Put the Brakes on Fatalities Day, but it’s important to focus on this message all year long.

As a final safety message for this series, AT&T published a video as part of its #ITCANWAIT safety campaign – very powerful – please watch and share,

Monday, October 10, 2016

It’s bad, really bad

By Cheryl Carlson

On a bitterly cold morning in January 2013, I was on my way to work deep in my own thoughts about what the day would have in store for me. Little did I know that tragedy had already struck our family. My cell phone rang and my grandson, Wyatt, was calling to tell me that his sisters had just had a bad accident on their way to school. He was panicked and crying and I could barely understand what he was telling me. He said, “Grandma it’s bad, really bad.”

I drove directly to the accident site where other family members, police, ambulance and EMS had already arrived. As I approached the mangled remains of their Jeep Liberty I experienced the most intense fear I had ever known. I saw our two sons and Wyatt all standing together and crying. Our Sheriff, Greg Riat, came over to me and gave me a big hug and encouraged me not to worry, that they would get the girls out. At that point I really didn’t even know if they were alive.

Jordan and Bailey

They had been wearing their seat belts but they didn’t end up in them. The force of the accident must have pulled them up and out of their seats because their seat covers had also been pulled off. But hopefully that’s what kept them in the vehicle. They had both been thrown into the back storage area of the Jeep and Jordan (age 15) was wedged into that small area on top of her sister, Bailey (age 9). There was no movement as the EMS personnel and other emergency workers frantically worked to free them. The “Jaws of Life” finally succeeded in getting the roof cut through enough to get Jordan out. She wasn’t fully conscious but thankfully was alive and in a great deal of pain.

The force of the accident had pulled both of her boots from her feet. One foot was, at some point, outside the vehicle as it rolled end over end two or three times. Due to severe head trauma, Life Star was called to transport her to Stormont Vail. I can still hear that helicopter as it landed in the field near the accident and then the complete feeling of helplessness and fear as it left…and the tears I have in my eyes now as I relive that horrible day.

As the helicopter lifted off, I called Richard at the Capitol to tell him of the accident and to have him go directly to the hospital to meet the helicopter. Then our attention was focused back on Bailey who was by now, moaning and crying and trying to move. Her pain was so intense that all she could do was scream. It was freezing cold, about 9 degrees, and her new coat was cut off of her to help get her free. We had just given that coat to her for Christmas and she was not happy. Finally, after almost an hour she was placed on a board and I’ll never forget what she said. A female EMS member asked her about her pain and wanted to know if her pelvis hurt. She replied, “I don’t know what a pelvis is!” That was the only bright spot up to that moment.

Bailey in a body shell brace

She was transported to Stormont Vail by ambulance. She and her sister were in the Trauma Center for about 36 hours and then were well enough to be in the PICU. Jordan had to have surgery to repair a toe that was mangled and after about six days in the hospital was allowed to come home. Bailey had compression fractures of every bone in her back and was in excruciating pain for days. She was fitted with a neck brace and a body “shell” brace that she had to wear for about 6 weeks. After being released from the hospital she had to go to the Madonna Center in Lincoln for a short while and came home about three weeks later.

The accident happened on a gravel road when Jordan got too close to a ridge of frozen rock. It threw her across the road at which time she over compensated and shot back across. Her front axle came off. Then she hit a wall of the ditch which threw them end over end into the pasture. She, like most farm kids, learn to drive at an early age. The accident was probably due to a lack of experience of driving in general, and driving on gravel which is a totally different ball game.

Now both girls are doing just fine. Jordan has graduated from high school and is beginning studies in nursing. Bailey is now an active 8th grader who is a cheerleader. She has taken dance since the accident, loves to swim and loves to ride her horse, Renegade. We are so blessed to have them in our lives and cherish every hug we share.

Cheryl Carlson is the wife of KDOT Interim Secretary Richard Carlson