Local News

Troopers to crack down on speeding in highway work zones

Posted April 6, 2009 2:29 p.m. EDT

— The state Highway Patrol and the state Department of Transportation kicked off Operation Drive Smart 2009 this week to reduce the number of traffic collisions in highway work zones.

The Highway Patrol plans to crack down on speeders in some of the busiest work zones in the state, including Interstate 95 in Cumberland County and Interstate 85/40 in Alamance and Guilford counties, officials said.

“Speeding is the leading cause of traffic collisions in work zones,” Highway Patrol Commander Col. Walter Wilson Jr. said in a statement. “I have instructed our troopers to aggressively crack down on motorists traveling at high speeds and driving recklessly.”

According to the DOT, there were 2,381 work zone crashes last year, resulting in nearly 1,500 injuries. Twenty-one people were killed.

Speeding and driver distraction account for more than half of all work zone crashes.

“Safety is the department’s No. 1 priority, and we work hard to keep both our work crews and motorists safe along North Carolina’s roadways,” Transportation Secretary Gene Conti said in a statement. “This effort will help us continue to build awareness in work zones and emphasize the need for drivers to slow down and use caution.”

During Operation Drive Smart 2008, troopers issued more than 500 citations for speed violations in work zones across the state. They also issued 188 motor carrier violations and 63 seat belt violations.