Originally created 03/06/03

The worst drivers

Do you know where you can find the zaniest, most dangerous drivers? Speeding along an interstate construction site.

Even a drunk should have better sense than to put the pedal to the metal when going through mazes of giant warning signs, orange barrels and road construction workers.

Yet thoughtless speeding happens everyday out at the I-20 construction zone between the Warren Road overpass in Richmond County and the South Carolina state line.

When deputies, about eight to 10 of them, monitor the three-mile long zone, they end up handing out more than 30 tickets, most of them for exceeding 70 mph. Some even go 30 mph over the 55 mph limit .

It boggles the mind to think how much danger that puts people in - not just the speeders and their passengers, of course, but the other drivers and the construction workers. What could be so important that anybody would have to drive that fast, particularly in a roadwork area?

When pulled over, says Richmond County Sheriff's Sgt. Guy Scott, many speeders claim they were so wrapped up in their driving that they didn't notice they were in a construction zone. Drivers who don't take note of their surroundings aren't wrapped up in anything except their own egoism and stupidity.

We commend the deputies for the job they're doing policing the I-20 work zone. It's easy to count the tickets they hand out, but it's impossible to figure how many lives and injuries their strong monitoring presence in the area is saving.

It's just a shame that law-enforcement manpower has to be diverted to such a task when just a modicum of common sense on the part of the offending drivers would make the focused monitoring of construction traffic unnecessary.

But if neither common sense nor a strong police presence can deter speeders, perhaps the knowledge that the fine for speeding in construction areas will run a little higher than normal - $625 a ticket.

And if that's still not enough to give a would-be speeder pause, then consider this grisly statistic from the state Department of Transportation: 70 to 90 deaths occur each year in Georgia work zone sites, but three out of four of the fatalities are the speeders themselves.


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