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UHP Urging Caution in Construction Zones

UHP Urging Caution in Construction Zones



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Sandra Yi ReportingThe Utah Highway Patrol is again urging motorists to be careful, especially in construction zones. Just this week there have been two accidents in the same construction area on I-15 past 106th south.

Highway Patrol says they can't remind drivers enough: if you're going through that area, you need to be extra careful and slow down.

Lt. Michael Rapich: "Brian, the reason I stopped you today is because you're traveling at 65 miles an hour. The speed limit in the construction zone is only 55."

It's rush hour, but it doesn't take long before Lieutenant Michael Rapich finds a driver going too fast in a construction zone.

Lt. Michael Rapich: "There's another reason they reduce the speed limit in those areas."

Rapich says construction zones like this one, can steer drivers into trouble.

Lt. Michael Rapich: "Any time you get in an area that's going to cause congestion, we get an increase in rear ender accidents."

That's what happened today near 106th South. UHP says the driver of a cement truck was following too close and rear ended a delivery truck. That truck then hit another car. One person was seriously injured.

Lt. Michael Rapich: "When we have a rear ender crash, 99 percent of the time it's either following too closely or speed too fast."

The crash happened only three days after a fatal accident on the same stretch of I-15. 28-year old Thad Goodman died after he lost control of his car and crossed into the southbound lanes. His car slammed head-on into a car carrying a newlywed couple, from Colorado. They were injured. The bride, Tara Berendes is still in the hospital.

UHP doesn't know what caused the man to lose control. But troopers warn that running into the unexpected is greater in areas under construction.

Lt. Michael Rapich: "It's because the lanes are narrower, they've got less room on the shoulders, there are people working around those areas."

And fines are double for speeding in construction zones.

Highway Patrol says there are three basic things you can do to avoid an accident: slow down, give yourself plenty of room, and pay attention to what's going on.

As for Tara Berendes, she is stable but in a coma. She does not have medical insurance.

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