“Don’t Barrel Through Work Zones – Drive Smart to Arrive Alive”
OHP and the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office urge drivers to be cautious
The week of April 23-27 has been declared Work Zone Awareness Week in the State of Oklahoma, and highway safety advocates are urging motorists to be particularly cautious.
According to statistics from the Oklahoma Department of Transportation, 13 people were killed in Oklahoma highway work zones in 2011 – a 63 percent increase from 2010. Also in 2011, 789 people were injured in 1,427 collisions in Oklahoma work zones, according to ODOT.
“Drivers need to slow down and pay attention when they’re traveling through work zones,” said Capt. Chris West of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol. “Of course we always want people to avoid distractions when they’re behind the wheel, but this is particularly important in work zones – for the safety of the people in the car and the workers on the roadway.”
West said drivers who are caught speeding in a work zone will be fined double the normal amount for the citation, not including court costs. Other fines apply for those who fail to obey merge signs, fail to stop for work zone flaggers, fail to obey traffic control devices, drive in any area not designated for traffic in a construction zone or altering traffic control devices.
A $5,000 fine may be invoked for endangering the lives of workers and resulting in injury to a worker. The fine may be up to $10,000 in the event of a worker’s death.
“People get frustrated because work zones cost them a few minutes of time,” West said. “They need to remember that the delay is caused because road conditions are being improved or expanded, so the temporary inconvenience will pay off in years of safer roadways.”
“We see a lot of construction zones across our state, so drivers need to be particularly vigilant,” said Garry Thomas, director of the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office. “We all need to be patient, slow down and, most of all, pay attention. As the slogan says, don’t barrel through work zones. Slow down and obey the signs.”