More bright orange cones and signs will be popping up on Iowa roadways soon. The Iowa Department of Public Safety is reminding motorists to pay attention and slow down in construction zones. Spokesperson Jessica Lown says between 2003 and 2007, there were more than 3,700 crashes in work zones across the state. Those crashes involved over 7,000 vehicles, resulting in 27 fatalities and more than 1,700 injuries.
Many accidents are blamed on distracted drivers, who are tuning the radio or texting on a cell phone. Lown says there’s less room for error in a construction zone. "If you’re not paying attention and you start to swerve a little bit…you might have two lanes on a regular area of the road, but it you’re in a work zone, you may only have one," Lown said.
An Iowa motorist was killed last week in a work zone while driving along Interstate 29 in Mills County. The driver, for an unknown reason, lost control and struck a milling machine. Lown says speeding in a work zone is not only dangerous – it can be costly if you’re pulled over by a cop. "The fines double and sometimes, in certain cases, quadruple in construction zones," Lown said.
This week, across the country, is designated as Work Zone Awareness Week.