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Pedal off the metal: Arizona agency urges safer driving through road work zones

PHOENIX — National Work Zone Awareness Week is a reminder to drivers to slow down when approaching roadway work zones.

Eight people died in Arizona roadway work-zone crashes in 2012, the most recent year the statistics are available.

Arizona Department of Transportation has more than 100 highway improvement projects underway across the state. Department spokesman Doug Nintzel said even though some drivers could face double fines, speeding remained a problem in work zones.

“Federal figures show 80 percent of the people killed in work-zone crashes are drivers or passengers. They’re speeding, not paying attention, failing to move over,” Nintzel said.

Tailgating and texting drivers are also factors.

“That’s why we have put an emphasis on the states move over law which requires drivers to change lanes or slow down when passing vehicles with flashing lights.”

Nintzel said not only are the drivers putting their lives in danger in the work zones but highway patrol officers are also at risk.