ARDOT And Safety Partners Urge Arkansans to Slow Down To Prevent Work Zone Deaths

In four years, work zone crashes in Arkansas have increased by more than 70%.

The Arkansas Highway Commission and the Arkansas Department of Transportation (ARDOT) are urging a unified effort between citizens and workers to increase work zone safety following two ARDOT employee deaths in work zones in a matter of weeks.

“On behalf of the Arkansas Highway Commission, we are deeply saddened and concerned by the alarming rise in work zone crashes, injuries and deaths in Arkansas – especially the two most recent deaths in the past month,” said Robert Moore, Chair of the Commission. “Our hearts go out to the families whose loved ones went to work one day and never made it home.”

Slow Down, Phone Down is a statewide work zone safety campaign urging drivers to slow down and put their phone down when entering a work zone. Not only are these the two most important measures we can take to prevent accidents in work zones, but speeding and/or using your phone in a work zone are illegal. Fines for traffic violations are doubled in work zones in which workers are present.

Work Zone Incidents & Injuries Are On The Rise

In 2018, more than 1200 work zone crashes were reported in Arkansas. In 2021, the number of reported work zone crashes jumped to more than 2100.

ARDOT and Arkansas Highway Police are taking action to stop this alarming trend.

How Does The Campaign Work?

Beginning January 2022, Arkansas Highway Police will have marked and unmarked patrols stationed in work zones across the state to crack down on distracted driving and speeding.

When an officer observes someone speeding, using their phone, or distracted driving in a work zone, the person will be pulled over and cited. This is a zero tolerance campaign. The rules are simple: Slow down, phone down.

These Rules Apply

When Workers Are Present In A Work Zone

  • Fines double

If a driver receives a citatiion for any moving traffic violations in a work zone, they will pay double the fine.

  • Leave your phone alone

Holding your phone to take a call, sent text, look up directions, or scroll social media counts as a moving traffic violation. Hands-free connections are a much safer option for communicating while driving.

  • Watch your speed

When approaching a work zone, you will see orange barrels, cones, road work signs, etc. At this point, you can safely assume the speed limit will be significantly reduced. Slow down, put your phone down, and watch for posted speed limit signs.

  • Back off

Fender-benders are one of the most common types of collisions in work zones - and following too close is typically the cause. Use the 3-second rule: Keep 3 seconds of distance between you and the car in front of you; add another second when driving in inclement weather; double the number of seconds when driving behind a large truck.

“We are urging Arkansans to do their part: slow down in work zones, stay off the phone, and pay attention,” said ARDOT Director Lorie Tudor. “It’s going to take all of us working together to reverse this concerning trend.”