ATLANTA — It's National Work Zone Safety Awareness Week, which you might think would be well under control this year with so many commuters off the roads.
But you'd be wrong.
Georgia State Patrol has reported numerous incidents of citing people going over 100 mph - tickets for speeding 100 mph or more are up nearly 66% statewide from a year ago. On I-85 in Gwinnett County between Hwy. 316 and Spaghetti Junction, they clocked an average speed of 87 mph.
And now, more than ever, the roads need to be clear for the people who really need to be on them.
"Reckless speeding that causes an accident could back up freight that's getting medical supplies where they need it, could back up a doctor that needs to get into the office," said Natalie Dale, spokeswoman for the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT). "There really is no time and place for that kind of reckless driving, whether you have heavy traffic or light traffic."
With the roads mostly clear, people have also been wondering an obvious question: Why not just do all the roadwork now and get it out of the way?
"Well as we've said all our projects are ongoing, we haven't stopped anything - so all crews on projects, they're still working on those projects," Dale said. "But reduced traffic doesn't mean no traffic, and while we saw congestion numbers of motorists like you and I go down, freight has remained the same. And why has freight remained the same? It's because we need our goods to get to the stores - we need that toilet paper and those paper towels and those Clorox wipes."
So even though we all see the memes asking to get the paving done now, you have to remember all those tractor trailers and all those first responder vehicles and all those frontline workers in their cars need to get where they're going.
If they were to pull out a major project now, it would still cause major delays and problems for those people.
And as for the HERO trucks, Dale says they're still doing their critical work - though they will practice social distancing.
"They're out there, they're out there to help you," she said. "Our priority is to make sure they stay safe and they stay healthy, so when they're helping motorists they are adhering to social distancing guidelines, they're gonna let you know, 'I'm here to help, but I'm gonna keep my space.'"
If you want to show support for all the road crews out there still doing important work while we're all at home, you can do so with the official color of National Work Zone Safety Awareness Week: Orange.