Kentucky Transportation Cabinet collecting traffic data, urges drivers to slow down

MAYFIELD, Ky. (KBSI)- Earlier this week, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet issued an urgent warning for drivers to slow down around highway crews and emergency vehicles on the side of the road.

Wayne Rawls with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet in District 1 is a Traffic Count Specialist.

He gathers traffic data on a small industrial computer requiring him to be out along the interstate and highway areas daily.

“As far as our roadways, begins with a traffic count, we look at the average daily traffic and how often a roadway will need to be paved,” said Rawls. “And the data is used for everything, down to the number of seconds on a caution light.”
The traffic counts Rawls collects help to plan paving projects and also helps developers and investors looking for locations for prospective businesses.

But collecting this information can be a dangerous task.

Last week he was checking a counter along U.S. 51 in Hickman County. His vehicle was on the shoulder of the road with emergency lights flashing. As he checked on the data, a vehicle passed him doing 97 miles per hour, visible on the counter readout.

His previous fastest speed was 79 miles per hour on a 2-lane highway.

“I’d like for the motoring public to understand that, that every time someone is wearing a high-vis safety outfit, flashing lights, I would just hope that motorists see that, that they would move over, give us room in our work area and slow down,” Rawls said.

When you encounter any vehicle along the roadway, whether it be a utility crew, fire truck, or police vehicle, remember that state law requires you to slow down to a safe speed and move over, if possible.

“It’s dangerous enough out here with the traffic going by, but the motoring public can help with that,” he said.

Rawls is one of 12 traffic data specialists that work across 12 districts within Kentucky.

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