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Kentucky Highway Officials Urge Safe Driving in Construction Zones

As temperatures begin to climb this spring, the number of highway work crews on Kentucky's roads will also increase. Proper attention to the road remains the key to safe travels, a highway official says.

Monday marks the beginning of Work Zone Awareness Week in the state. The number of fatalities in highway work zones in Kentucky has dropped the last three years, but crashes have significantly increased.

State Transportation Regional Safety Administrator Ronnie Johnson said too many drivers treat marked portions of the roadway like any other stretch of highway.

"Folks are just not paying good attention," said Johnson. "They go through work zones as if they were on an open highway. They're engrossed in conversation on the phone or whatever and they blow through a work zone. They don't even know they've passed through it."

Johnson said too many motorists fail to slow down when speed limits are reduced from 70 to 55 miles per hour.

Many of the fatalities in work zones are Kentucky drivers, and not construction workers, he said.

Johnson said enforcement in work areas is important, but not the sole solution.

"And you can ticket, ticket, ticket but it needs to be a cultural change rather than do it through ticketing or having blue lights there," he said. "The people should adhere to the signage and everything would be much better."

He said there are national standards on how to establish road construction markings along the highway.