HAMPTON, Va. — The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) kicked off National Work Zone Awareness Week on Tuesday.
It's a campaign to raise awareness of highway work zones and the hundreds of crew members killed in crashes every year. Hampton Roads has its fair share of construction and drivers need to look out for it.
“We need to remember those are humane lives behind those barrels and those signs working to improve our commute,” said Virginia Secretary of Transportation Shepp Miller.
Miller said Virginia’s work zone-related deaths more than doubled in 2021.
“26 folks that were in vehicles died, two workers died, last year,” Miller said. “28, that’s a lot.”
That sobering statistic is up from 11 deaths in 2020.
Last year, VDOT officials counted more than 1,300 work zone crashes across Hampton Roads. The number one cause was speed.
“When you drive too fast through a work zone, you don’t have the time or the space to react like you normally would outside of a work zone,” said Virginia State Police Superintendent Colonel Gary Settle.
Virginia State Police Superintendent Colonel Gary Settle said speeding in a work zone could also cost you.
“The penalty for motorists cited for speeding in a work zone could be as much as $500,” Colonel Settle said. “Speeding through an active work zone could cost you money, or could cost one’s life.”
He is warning drivers to pay attention or pay up.
“Remaining alert to lane changes and slowing traffic, ignoring your phone and driving distraction-free, looking out for us as the workers on the roadway,” Settle said.
VDOT leaders want to remind people about Virginia’s "Move Over" law.
If you are driving and see an emergency vehicle on the side of the road, or one with flashing amber lights, you are required to move over. If you can’t the law requires drivers to slow down and proceed with caution.