NC Highway Patrol To Begin Crackdown In Work Zones

State troopers will be keeping a close eye on speeders and aggreessive drivers in eight North Carolina work zones beginning this week.

Operation Drive Smart starts today with a news conference in Johnston County, where work is under way on N-C 42 at the intersection with the new U-S 70 bypass.

Included in the crackdown will be commercial motor vehicle drivers committing serious traffic violations. The violations include speeding, following too closely, improper or erratic lane changes, careless and reckless driving and any violation of the motor vehicle laws that result in serious injury or death.

The state Department of Transportation says there were almost 45-hundred work zone crashes resulting in more than 15-hundred injuries and 30 deaths in 2005.

Speeding and driver distraction account for more than half of all work zone crashes.

More than 800 citations were issued during a similar operation in 2006.

The eight work zones where state Highway Patrol troopers will be participating in Operation Drive Smart 2007, an effort to reduce traffic collisions in North Carolina highway work zones:

-- U.S. 17 Bypass in Bertie County

-- Interstate 95 in Cumberland and Robeson counties

-- U.S. 70 Clayton bypass in Johnston and Wake counties

-- Interstate 85/40 in Guilford County

-- Interstate 85 in Rowan County

-- Interstate 77 in Yadkin County

-- Interstate 40 in Buncombe County

-- Interstate 77 in Mecklenburg County