Local News

DOT Driving Work Zone Safety into the Minds of Motorists

Posted April 3, 2000

— Highway work zones can be dangerous places if drivers do not stay alert. The state wants safety to be the first thing on the minds of motorists when encountering those areas.

Last year, 26 people were killed in North Carolina work zones. The biggest danger to workers and other drivers is speed combined with commuters who think they know the road.

"We might shift lanes, we might narrow the lanes, we might close lanes. Those kinds of things have an impact on your normal traveling," says Roberto Canales of the N.C. Department of Transportation.

The DOT is airing commercials, reminding drivers how important it is to slow down around construction crews.

Governor Hunt has also declared April 3 - 7"Work Safety Zone Awareness Week."

"We need to remember that there are people out there, human beings, and we have a lot to do with whether they go on home to their folks, their families, that evening," says Canales.

Transportation officials are backing up their message with 28 additional DOT officers who will be patrolling major construction areas looking for people who fail to give highway workers a break.

The DOT offers the following work zone safetydriving tips:

  • Stay alert and expect the unexpected.
  • Turn on your headlights so workers and other motorists can see you better.
  • Tailgating is dangerous driving, and so is waiting until the last minute to merge into another lane.
  • Do not speed. The penalty for speeding through a work zone is at least $250 on top of regular speeding fines.

    If someone is killed in a work zone and it turns out to be the motorist's fault, the driver could be charged with vehicular manslaughter.

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