The Colorado Department of Transportation’s Red Thumb Reminder campaign to alert motorists to drive without distractions spread Wednesday to highway crews.
Some workers painted a thumbnail red as a visual reminder to put down the iPhone while driving, others wrapped red construction tape around the digit.
Highway crews in Durango, Cortez and Alamosa participated in the effort. The show of red thumbs in Durango occurred at the DoubleTree Hotel intersection, where a continuous-turn lane is being constructed to ease traffic congestion.
The campaign aims to get drivers to stop talking or texting while driving and thus avoid potential accidents, said Nancy Shanks, CDOT communications manager in Durango.
“In five business days, three CDOT vehicles were hit by a moving vehicle,” she said. All incidents occurred on the Front Range, she said.
She offered other work-zone accident statistics: 85 percent of work-zone fatalities are drivers or highway workers; about 600 people are killed and 37,000 people are injured annually in work-zone crashes across the country; during a five-day work week, seven motorists and one highway worker are killed nationally.
Construction of the continuous-turn lane began May 27, with work projected to finish in mid-August. On Wednesday, heavy equipment was moving earth to prepare a road base for paving.
The lane will allow traffic approaching from points east and south to turn west onto U.S. Highway 160 with less delay than the old configuration.
In the summer, more than 40,000 vehicles a day use the intersection, Shanks said.