Local News

Construction Zone Speeding Creates Danger On Both Sides of the Barrel

Posted December 15, 1999 6:00 a.m. EST

— It is a dangerous day at the office when your workplace is the work zone. And it is not just construction workers who are at risk. Construction zones can be deadly on both sides of the orange barrel.

Nationwide, work zone fatalities are up 15 percent. Last year in North Carolina, 34 people died in construction zones. Four of the fatalities were construction workers; the rest were drivers, passengers and pedestrians.

The Department of Transportation is running a public service campaign designed to make viewers wonder, "How would you like it if someone drove through your workplace at 65 miles per hour?"

Stories from the work zone tell people how it feels.

"People come by, don't pay attention to the signs, and they'll be running fast, slam on the brakes, all at one time," says David Cobb.

Cobb had to jump out of the way during a beltline construction project. "[A] car just came too fast, and he just lost control. He hit the barrier rail and slid it over a little bit," he says.

Crews working on the I-540 interchange at Capital Boulevard are no strangers to dangerous driving in the work zone. There was a close call there Wednesday.

"[A] lady in a van decided to run a tow truck off the road, just to get ahead," says construction worker Dan Williams. "It happened probably about 30 feet from where we were."

The Federal Highway Administration says the most important thing you can do to protect everyone in a construction zone is to leave a safe braking distance between you and the car in front of you.

Also, merge as soon as you see the lane closure signs. Waiting only creates panic and that causes accidents.

The fine for speeding in a construction zone was recently raised from $100 to $250.