At the same time our country’s infrastructure repair projects are on the rise, so are the dangers in active work zones. Mobile devices, food, and speeding are making the roads more dangerous than ever, and the need for our workers and motorists’ safety has become the focus of law makers and DOTs across the nation. Here we take a look at a few states and what they are doing to combat this growing problem.
In Mandan, Minnesota the DOT has implemented new technology in I-94 work zone. For the first time in the state, the DOT is using a new Intelligent Transportation System which uses a series of speed monitors to detect the flow of traffic. “Intelligent Transportation System includes a wide range of applications that process and share information to ease congestion, improve traffic management, minimize environmental impact, and increase the benefits of transportation to commercial users and the public in general.” The DOT commented that the system has already reduced crashes.
Also starting this month in Minnesota, roadside flaggers will now be able to report drivers who disobey instructions. It will be an automatic ticket if reported within four hours of the violation and if law enforcement has reason to believe they were driving unsafely.
Josh Pierce of Q3 Contracting CTC stated, "I understand that people are busy, and this might get them behind schedule. But we're just trying to keep everyone here safe."
Oregon DOT has started deploying new flagging technology: Auto Flaggers. This takes work zone flaggers out of the line of traffic and out of harms way. This device is still operated by a flagger but at a safer distance and away from traffic. “Automated Flagger Assistance Devices (AFADs) are remotely operated temporary traffic control equipment with high visibility signage, 12 inch red signal heads, and automated flags.”
“Remember, highway crews are working to create a safer, more efficient transportation system for all of us,” Cryer said.
Caltrans recently released a “Be Work Zone Alert Safety” campaign that features workers children in hopes to remind drivers to slow down when driving through an active work zone. Along with other states, California also has a “Move Over” law that requires all drivers to move over a lane when safe to do so or when they see amber flashing lights on any Caltrans vehicle, emergency vehicles, and tow trucks.
“Being a transportation worker is one of the most hazardous professions in the nation,” said Laurie Berman, Director of Caltrans. “we hope this campaign will move every Californian to consider the dangers the brave men and women of the Department face every single day and slow down.”
This past Thursday in Orange County, Florida the Sheriff's Office and State Troopers were out trying to make I-4 safer for the work zone crews. They took part in a speed enforcement detail along work zone sites. “During the enforcement, investigators conducted 87 traffic stops, wrote 106 tickets and gave five warnings.” They continue to remind drivers to slow down in both work zones and school zones. They stated they will not stop enforcing the speed laws.
Minnesota, Oregon, California, and Florida are a few of many states that are taking action to get every worker and motorist home safely each night. Reminder to all drivers that: the text can wait, the food can wait, and to please slow down .