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Anti-Texting Campaign Ramps Up Around Interstate 95 Express Lane Project

Increased police presence and distracted driving enforcement planned for 29-mile stretch.

Anti-Texting Campaign As Summer Construction Ramps Up on Interstate 95
Anti-Texting Campaign As Summer Construction Ramps Up on Interstate 95
Law enforcement, state officials, contractors and community leaders gathered Thursday to try to put a stop to texting by drivers in the dangerous 29-mile stretch of Interstate 95 in Northern Virginia.

Express lanes being built through the corridor are expected to make the interstate commute faster and safer. But, during construction, distracted driving is one of the main concerns for the safety of workers on the project and drivers on the road.

A new report from AAA Mid-Atlantic and lead contractors at Transurban-Fluor shows the danger of distracted driving has only increased since construction began on the project.

Regular drivers of this particular I-95 corridor were surveyed. Of them, 31 percent said they'd had an incident or near miss while driving distracted. That's up from 24 percent in a 2013 survey.

Virginia State Police and local law enforcement will have a presence throughout the construction corridor, said Virginia State Police Major Len Terry. 

"If a sustained law enforcement presence isn't enough, Virginia's distracted driving laws should be another deterrent," Terry said. "If a law enforcement officer sees you texting while driving, they can pull you over and issue you a summons. For the first offense, the fine is $125."

One reason respondents gave for distracted driving was to read or reply to work-related text or email messages, leading local business leaders to commit to the education campaign to stop texting while driving.

Project organizers noted that work is still on track to be competed by the end of the year, with the new toll Express Lanes expected to open in early 2015.

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