Police remind drivers to put cellphones away in work zones

Nearly 40 cited or warned during enforcement
Police remind drivers to put cellphones away in work zones

A law banning talking on handheld mobile devices in work zones went into effect last fall, and as the construction season ramps up this year, police want to remind everyone to follow the law.

Police officers were out on Regent Street Thursday enforcing the law in a construction zone near the UW campus. During a seven-hour span, police warned or cited nearly 40 drivers.

On top of working long hours to rehabilitate the 100-year-old sewer pipes running underneath, construction workers like Rickey Enlich are having to deal with distracted commuters.

“We have to pay attention to the pedestrians and traffic because they don’t pay attention to us,” Enlich, a foreman for the Michels corporation, said. “There’s not enough room for error here — you swerve a little bit, you’re in a construction site, a guy could be there, by the time you look up it’s too late.”

Not only is distracted driving dangerous, but it also makes Enlich’s job harder to do.

“I’d like to take a moped as fast as I could through someone’s office building so they’d know what it feels like,” he said.

A ticket will run around $90, but Enlich reminds people that the human cost could be even greater.

“Just think of this as your brother, your sister, your mom or your dad out here, and maybe you’ll slow down,” he said.