VDOT urging you not to use cell phone in construction zones this week

By Gene Petriello - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - This week, VDOT is urging you during this National Work Zone Awareness Week, to not use your cell phone while driving through construction zones.

Chances are, almost every time you hit the road you run into a construction zone. And, distractions that you have while you're driving your car, really put the lives of these construction workers at risk.

99 percent of the time Gerald wWebber says she doesn't use her cell phone behind the wheel. But, admits there's that 1 percent that can make things pretty dangerous for everyone.

"I've had people pull out in front of me. I almost had an accident they don't even notice what's going on," said Gerald Webber.

No matter where in the commonwealth she drives, work zone or not.

"These folks are just like you and I. They have a job, they want to go home to their families at night and they really just want to do their job and go home," said Dawn Eischen with VDOT.

But sometimes, that doesn't happen. VDOT says, in 2008, 7 construction workers died on Virginia roads because of distracted drivers. That leaves the crews always on alert.

"You're constantly looking over your shoulder thinking, is that driver paying attention? is he making a call, or fiddling with their cell phone?," added Eischen.

So this week is Work Zone, No Phone week. But Gerald thinks it needs to be more than just these 5 days. "They need to do it consistently, they need to do it all the time because there are so many preventable accidents because people are not paying attention."

In fact, a study by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute found that nearly 80 percent of all crashes involve some form of inattention by drivers, within three seconds of the accidents.

The most common of distraction is the use of cell phones.

"It only takes one time," said Webber. And one time, too many for Weber to take a chance.

Earlier this year, legislation to require you to use a hands-free device while driving and talking on the phone was stopped. But, that issue may come back up again next legislative year.

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