MDOT urges drivers to slow down in work zones - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

MDOT urges drivers to slow down in work zones

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) -

This week is National Work Zone Awareness Week, a week designated each year as a way to observe the dangers that workers face everyday in roadway construction work zones.

This year's theme is "Don't barrel through work zones! Drive smart to arrive alive."

"We must change the way we think about work zones." That was the message that Southern Transportation Commissioner Tom King stressed Wednesday.

"We're trying to save lives and we're trying, as you heard me say earlier, 40 people. 40 MDOT employees through the years state-wide have lost their lives because people were driving too fast or reckless through work zones," explained King.

Many will remember back to January 2010 when two MDOT workers, Leon Sims and Tyler Kilsby, lost their lives while working along Highway 11 near Lumberton. Just two weeks ago, another MDOT worker was killed in McComb.

"To see that mother. To see that wife. It just breaks your heart. It will make you want to cry," said King. "All we're asking is, no we don't need any more laws, we need people to obey the existing laws that we have."

Slowing down and being aware of your surroundings. With construction zones prominent across the area, its experiences like these that they hope to eliminate.

"We had a dodge truck with a camper run over about seven cones as I was walking down the side of the road. So that was pretty close," said Alex Minton, MDOT maintenance technician.

If this wasn't enough, King says be prepared to pay a heavy price should you be ticketed in a work zone.

"When you're in a work zone, whatever that penalty may be doubles. The fines double, the penalty doubles. And shame on you if you're driving too fast in one of those areas," said King.

Let this week be a reminder of the danger these workers face and how we as motorists can make sure they make it back to see their families each and every night.

Copyright 2012 WDAM. All rights reserved.

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