Work zones on highways are under the microscope at the University of Tennessee. Researchers are looking at safety measures for Tennessee Department of Transportation workers.
One possible solution would pit technology against speeders.
"It would be like a car going 60 miles per hour past your cubicle at work," said Travis Brickey, a TDOT spokesperson.
Speeding cars have left their mark in road construction zones.
"Between 2001 and 2005, we had 137 fatalities in the State of Tennessee in work zones," said Brickey.
Those numbers have TDOT asking questions.
"What are our options? Right now, we're having the University of Tennessee Transportation Research Center do some research," he said.
Matt Cates and Dr. Arun Chatterjee are crunching the numbers. One solution they are looking into is speed cameras, much like the red-light cameras Knoxville uses.
"We basically have a camera working with a radar gun to monitor traffic," said Matt Cates. "It automatically issues citations without a pull-over to the worst offenders in that area."
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, four Tennessee communities use speed cameras. One of those communities is Chattanooga.
"They do have fixed cameras that are always in place, constantly monitoring traffic," said Cates. "The city also has mobile speed units that are staffed by officers."
"The result, in a nutshell, has been dramatic," said Dr. Arun Chatterjee. "Crashes have gone down by 80 percent."
UT's Center for Transportation Research is studying results across the nation. They want to see how speed cameras would work state-wide. They are currently combing out the pros and cons for TDOT.
"We're looking into the feasibility in a very preliminary way," Chatterjee said. "No decision has been made at all."
Speed cameras may or may not be the new eye in TDOT work zones. The center's results will be given to TDOT in 9 months.
TDOT said it is also looking at other measures, such as different law enforcement techniques.