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To Prevent Road Construction Accidents, Slow Down in Work Zones

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Connecticut will begin to impose new penalties on drivers who violate speeding laws in work zones. Drivers could be convicted of endangerment if they drive more than 75 mph in work zones. Truckers who go faster than 65 mph in work zones could also face an endangerment charge.

The new law has been in effect since the beginning of the month. In addition to other penalties, such as points on their licenses, drivers convicted of endangerment charges will be required to attend a driver retraining program. The new law also commits additional funds for law enforcement to implement and enforce the law.

The goal of the new law is to reduce work zone accidents. A spokesperson for the state Department of Transportation said that in 2011 there were 892 accidents in road construction zones. The most common type of work zone crashes were rear end collisions. These types of accidents were primarily caused by following too closely, driver loss of control and improper lane changes.

Construction and road maintenance accidents occurring between 7 PM and 8 PM - when crews are trying to close lanes in preparation for evening work - have increased significantly in recent years. Night work, although there are fewer cars, carries particular risks for workers. Because traffic is lighter, drivers feel they can speed through work zones.

If the new law gets drivers to slow down in work zones, whether at night or during the day, it will be viewed as a success by law enforcement, the DOT and all road construction workers.

Source: Greenwich, "Stiff penalties await work-zone speeders," Oct. 20, 2013.

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