Despite warnings, Va. drivers distracted in construction zones

Virginia Secretary of Transportation Sean T. Connaughton holds a sign reading \'Orange Cones. No Phones.\' near Tysons Corner, Va. (Courtesy of the Federal Highway Administration)

Adam Tuss, wtop.com

TYSONS CORNER, Va. – Distracted drivers are not only common on D.C. area roads, they’re common in construction zones along D.C. area roads.

About four out of every 10 drivers passing through a work zone in Northern Virginia are on cellphones, according to a new survey of law enforcement officers in Northern Virginia.

“How the heck can you be typing on a keyboard and think you can be a safe driver — especially in this mess?” asked AAA Mid-Atlantic’s Lon Anderson during an “Orange Cones No Phones” event along the Capital Beltway’s Express Lane project.

“We have so many people choosing to drive through here distracted. I don’t get it, and clearly they don’t get it.”

The event was held Wednesday as part of National Work Zone Awareness Week.

“I commuted up (to this event) from Lorton, Va., and unfortunately I still saw people texting and talking on their phones while they were driving through this very busy area,” said National Transportation Safety Board Chair Debbie Hersman.

The NTSB recently called for a nationwide ban on the use of personal electronic devices behind the wheel.

Virginia’s Transportation Secretary Sean Connaughton talked about the need to pay full attention in work zones.

“The Commonwealth is in the midst of unprecedented multi-billion dollar, multi-year transportation infrastructure upgrades, with a myriad of construction work zones,” said Connaughton.

According to the Interstate 495 Express Lanes survey, texting while driving is the most dangerous behavior in construction zones, ahead of speeding, aggressive driving and not obeying changing traffic patterns.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)


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