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Drivers: Slow down, pay attention in work zones

Staff Report • Apr 27, 2012 at 8:35 AM

This is National Work Zone Awareness Week, and officials with the Tennessee Department of Transportation are calling attention to the danger distracted or speeding drivers pose to themselves and highway construction workers.

Spring can be a particularly dangerous time of the year for road construction crews when motorists fail to respect the rules of work zone safety.

“We are heading into the busiest construction time of the year, and there will be hundreds of active work zones across Tennessee,” TDOT Commissioner John Schroer said in a news release. “Reducing speeds, staying alert and exercising caution is the best way to ensure workers and motorists stay safe on our roadways.”

As Press staff writer Becky Campbell reported in Wednesday’s paper, a road construction worker was killed Feb. 9 when a driver struck him at a job site on Tenn. Highway 75. Two TDOT workers have also been killed in work zones this year.

Carelessness in work zones also claim the lives of motorists. Of the 15 people killed in work zone accidents last year in Tennessee, 12 were either drivers or vehicle passengers. The other three were construction workers.

Here’s some simple advice for drivers to follow whenever they encounter an orange cone or see a “Work Zone” sign by the highway: Slow down.

More than 1,100 Americans are killed in work zone accidents annually. The accidents are caused by drivers who speed or fail to yield the right of way. In many cases, motorists simply fail to abide by the rules of a work zone. TDOT recommends when drivers see the very first highway sign advising them of an upcoming work zone, they begin merging to the appropriate lane as quickly as possible.

There are three road construction projects currently underway in Washington County. One is the Tenn. Highway 75/Airport Parkway project, the second is the Tenn. Highway 34 widening project and the newest is the widening project on Tenn. Highway 36 that extends from Boones Creek to Highway 75. 

For information regarding TDOT construction projects going on in specific areas of the state, check out www.tdot. state.tn.us/tsw/asp/smartmap.asp and click on the construction button.

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