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Work Zone Safety: Slow Down, Stay Alert

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ELKINS -

Now that its summer, drivers will see more work zones setting up on our primary and secondary roads.

The West Virginia Department of Transportation said the easiest way to make sure you and those workers stay safe is to slow down and stay alert.

An intersection between Elkins and Buckhannon along U.S. Route 33 is one example of the many work zones taking place this summer. Transportation officials said it's also a time to reminder drivers of work zone safety.

"When its warm out and they can start making asphalt again, we're out there during our construction season until the end of it, which is late fall that people respect our workers, the signs, and slow down," said Carrie Bly, communications specialist with West Virginia Department of Transportation.

WVDOT said distracted driving is a huge problem. Bly said most accidents or fatalities are a result of the drivers not the workers. She said no matter how long a work zone stays up, things can change and drivers need to be aware of those changes.

"It is a work zone, these are their offices, if you're going the right speed limit and the lane is narrowing, you're going to react to that change better than if you're speeding right through it.

The West Virginia State Police monitor work zones. Troopers said it is important for them to be out there to remind drivers that yellow and blue make green, which translates into paying some fines if you're not obeying the rules.

"They think because it's a slower speed of 50 mph they can go ahead talk on their cell phones and become distracted which is a lot more dangerous, they need to be a lot more observant in these construction zones," said Cpl. M.A. Roy, West Virginia State Police.

The bottom line, officials said, is to slow down, turn it off or put it away, and just drive."

State Police said the maximum speeding fine is $100.

But in a work zone it doubles, plus court costs of $165.