Police to beef up construction-zone patrol today

Ten state troopers will be in construction zones today in St. Louis County, watching for speeders. The increased presence -- from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. today -- is part of Work Zone Safety Week.

The patrol will be looking for speeders, motorists who follow too closely and other violations, said Sgt. Julie Scerine of the Missouri Highway Patrol.

Andrew Gates of the Missouri Department of Transportation says drivers are increasingly distracted these days and speeding through work zones.

"Folks need to pay attention, stay off their cell phones, make sure they aren't eating -- just be aware," Gates said.

In Missouri last year, five people were killed in construction zones. In 2006, 19 people in Missouri were killed in construction zones. Nationally, 1,010 people were killed in work zones in 2006.

On average, between 2002 and 2006, 15 percent of those killed in construction zones in the United States were pedestrians -- workers or bicyclists, Gates said.

The penalty for hitting a worker in a construction zone in Missouri is a $10,000 fine and loss of the drivers license.

Speeders must pay a $250 fine on top of the fine for speeding.