- Associated Press - Monday, July 4, 2016

OGDEN, Utah (AP) - State data shows a total of 67 people have been killed in Utah construction zone crashes in the last five years.

The transportation department data also shows 288 people were seriously injured over the same period, the Standard-Examiner reported (http://bit.ly/29tsq0M).

Top causes were speeding, aggressive driving or distracted motorists.

Utah Department of Transportation regional spokesman Vic Saunders said safety campaigns have not stopped people from diverting their attention from the road to distractions like cellphones.

“Despite all of our work with Zero Fatalities and safety messages, people are on their cellphones talking and texting and looking at other things,” Saunders said. “Within the confines of construction zones, with narrower lanes and barriers that make it a little bit tighter, people are wavering back and forth, and the danger is magnified for everyone.”

Transportation officials take steps to prevent the crashes like implementing increasing the speed limit in areas of construction zones where workers aren’t present.

Utah Highway Patrol Sgt. Todd Royce said when troopers are out in force, drivers frustrated by slow traffic tend to refrain from verbally abusing workers.

“When traffic slows down you’d be surprised the things that are said to them,” Royce said.

“We do aggressively enforce those zones and you will get cited,” Royce said. “And fines are double in construction zones.”

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Information from: Standard-Examiner, http://www.standard.net

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