Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Highway Patrol, DOT Kick Off Work Zone Enforcement Campaign

State Trooper D.J. Hare sits in his unmarked cruiser looking for violators. Troopers will use unmarked cars, helicopters, and motorcycles during Operation Drive Smart 2007 that kicked off Tuesday in Johnston County. The Highway Patrol and NC DOT are working together to reduce the number of work zone crashes across the state.

The Highway Patrol and Department of Transportation kicked off Operation Drive Smart 2007 on Tuesday at the US70 Clayton Bypass work zone in Johnston County . Drive Smart is an effort to reduce the number of traffic accidents in work zones across the state. Troopers will increase enforcement and crackdown on excessive speeders in some of the busiest work zones. According to the DOT, there were 4,478 work zone crashes resulting in more than 1,500 injuries in 2005. Of those crashes, 30 were fatal. Speed and distraction are among the leading causes of the accidents. “Safety is the department’s number one priority and we must continue our efforts to increase work zone safety education and awareness across the state,” said Department of Transportation Secretary Lyndo Tippett. “The Highway Patrol is determined to reduce fatal collisions in these work zones, and going after speeders who recklessly endanger the public will help us do that,” said Bryan Beatty, secretary of the Department of Crime Control and Public Safety. “ Operation Drive Smart 2007 is an effort to reverse the trend of increasing speeds in work zones by irresponsible drivers.” Operation Drive Smart 2007 is a campaign that will concentrate solely on speeding, aggressive driving and other traffic violations in work zones. Although there are more than 200 work zones across North Carolina, highway construction zones that will be targeted during the operation include: the US70 Clayton Bypass in Johnston and Wake Counties, I-95 in Cumberland and Robeson counties, I-85/I-40 in Guilford County, I-85 in Rowan County, I-77 in Yadkin County, I-40 in Buncombe County, I-77 in Mecklenburg County, and the US17 Bypass in Bertie County. During a similar operation in 2006, troopers issued more than 800 citations for speeding in work zones across the state.


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