Speed Can Be Deadly for Highway Workers

Speeding through highway work zones takes more than 900 lives every year. Imagine if the walk from your workspace to the water cooler involved crossing lanes of interstate traffic.

For highway workers it's just another day at the office, only their work place can be fatal.

Brian Satterfield of the Florida Department of Transportation, says, "Nationwide we lose over 900 people every year in construction fatalities. Most of it due to rear end collisions."

Speeding, inattention and tailgating are the main factors in these highway tragedies. In an effort to curb these tendencies, transportation officials are going straight to the motorists in a program called National Work Zone Awareness Week.

Donald Taylor says, "I've worked out on the streets myself and I know what's like when you're got a car buzzin' by awful close. When I see the cones and even just the flag it's important to slow up."

Educating motorists of the dangers goes a long way to improving safety, but according to Satterfield, speeding fines doubled is still the most effective deterrent.

"We have seen that is one of the greatest deterrents to a motorist. You can beg and plead with them all you want, but when you go to threaten to get into their wallet they really start taking notice," says Satterfield.

For the last year the numbers are available; in 2002 there were 87 work zone fatalities in Florida and as for Georgia there were 118 fatalities.