The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) is emphasizing the need for safe driving in work zones. Nine people have died in work zone car crashes in the first five months of this year, which is a slight increase from this time last year.
By the end of 2021, a total of 29 people died in construction zones. The 6,266 work zones crashes in 2021 was up 5% from the previous year. However, the number of fatalities dropped.
“It’s been a public health crisis, clearly, with COVID, but it’s also been a public health crisis on our roads,” said Mark Ezzell, director of the North Carolina Governor’s Highway Safety Program.
There are two main sources for work zone crashes, according to NCDOT. The agency estimates more than 50% of crashes in work zones in 2021 involved speeding or distracted driving. Even with orange cones, flashing lights and warning signs, thousands of crashes and injuries happen in work zones.
"Spring is the season for work zones, repairs or new construction on the road and that is going to require additional awareness on the part of motorists,” Ezzell said.
This month, the NCDOT reports active work zones in all 100 counties and more than 30 major work zones on interstates and other freeways.
North Carolina’s Move Over law requires drivers to change lanes or reduce speeds for road crews and emergency responders.
“Every time we see an orange cone, we’ve got to slow down,” Ezzell said.
The NCDOT points out that slowing down from 65 to 45 miles an hour through a two-mile work zone only extends travel time by one minute.
Source: WRAL News