You ever stood on the side of the road and had cars going by you at 60-80 mph within feet of where you were standing? That is what it is like for those road crews and construction workers who work on a daily basis to maintain and build the highway system.
The challenge we are presented with is how to get drivers to slow down in these areas with lane closures. As stated in the recent press release the top two reasons for crashes in work zones are speeding and inattentive driving. There were more than 1,000 collisions in 2006 in work zones.
What time of day do these accidents happen? Daylight, on a clear or cloudy day (I would have expected late at night, who knew.)
What type of collision is the most common?
Rear-end collisions are the number one type of collision, a completely preventable collision. Did you know that close to 99 percent of those injured aren't the workers but are the drivers and passengers of the vehicles?
The question is what would it take to get drivers to slow down or pay attention in these workzones? We asked some drivers recently and many of said they slowed down when they entered workzones. When Troopers went out and took some sample radar speeds we discovered that many of you don't slow down. A sampling that proves to us that you know you should slow down but don't once you are out there.
Here is the idea that the legislature approved. Put cameras in the workzones. Identify the cars who are speeding through these zones and send them a warning or a ticket. We are still working out the details of how that is going to work but that is the basic concept that we are going to test this summer during the construction season.
We don't plan on doing it everywhere just yet. We want to establish a project to test it on and then report back the results to determine if it will work as a deterrent and get drivers to slow down through work zones.
What can you do?
Slow down, pay attention and merge as soon as safe to do so. Don't wait until the last minute. Remember that traffic fines double in work zones, and traffic flows much smoother when everyone gets along.
More Tips for Driving in a Work Zone:
- Don’t do anything except drive while you’re in the work zone
- Don’t use your cell phone
- Don’t eat or drink
- Don’t change CD’s or radio stations
- Don’t tailgate! Leave plenty of room between you and the vehicle in front of you
Even though these tips seem simple, if you had friends or co-workers working on the roads out there, we hope you would recommend any tips that would help drivers keep their eyes on the road.
What would you do?
What type of strategies would you implement to get drivers to slow down? How do you feel about these workzone cameras, let us know.