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Michigan transportation advocates urge safety in road construction zones

"People Working_ Road Work_ SignIMG_8299" by Intermountain Region US Forest Service is licensed under CC PDM 1.0

A leading Michigan construction trade association is launching a new campaign urging drivers to slow down in road construction zones.

The Michigan Infrastructure and Transportation Association, or MITA, is placing billboards in select locations in Detroit, Flint, Grand Rapids, and Lansing warning drivers to pay attention in construction zones. The association cites a new report from the National Transportation Research Group that indicates traffic fatalities have risen 19% nationwide since 2019.

MITA executive vice president Rob Coppersmith says the billboard campaign aims to get drivers to change their behavior as they approach a work zone.

"We try to humanize it a little bit so that a driver might look at a construction worker and give them the respect of maybe not looking at their phone. Maybe slowing down a little bit. Maybe not getting frustrated at a traffic backup."

The campaign runs through the end of summer construction season. Coppersmith says MITA will lobby the state legislature for work zone camera enforcement in the fall.

Kevin Lavery has been news director at WKAR since September 2006.