One of Mississippi’s most critical economic development components is infrastructure. While our roads and bridges have been improving for the past two decades, we have a long way to go before fulfilling the goals of the landmark 1987 Four-Lane Highway Program. To accomplish these goals, thousands of workers are on the job around the state surveying, bulldozing, paving and maintaining our roads. Highway construction and maintenance is at an all-time high in Mississippi.
The downside of this work is that from time to time motorists are going to have to drive through work zones — places where men and women are focused on doing a good job and cars and trucks, minivans and SUVs are blasting by at full speed.
It’s a dangerous, and deadly, situation, and one that must end.
Last week, a Mississippi Department of Transportation worker on Interstate 55 was hit by a truck. The driver didn’t stop. At press time, the Mississippi Highway Patrol was investigating the incident, and the injured MDOT employee was in critical but stable condition at the University of Mississippi Medical Center.
Last year, the U.S. Department of Transportation estimates that approximately 39,000 people were injured in work zone crashes, many of which can be attributed to speeding and inattention.
According to MDOT, slowing down when traveling through a work zone won’t cost you a minute more on your drive time. In fact, slowing down to 45 m.p.h from 65 m.p.h. for a two-mile long work zone takes only an additional 52 seconds.
It’s not worth a human life to speed to get home quicker or make it to work because you overslept.
As MDOT advises in its public awareness campaign: Get the picture. Listen to the signs.
And slow down.