Stressing safety after fatal accident

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, VA, (WUSA9) -- The Virginia Department of Transportation is stressing safety after an accident at the entrance of the 495 Express Lanes cost a woman her life.

You may have been one of those drivers stuck in traffic after Tuesday's accident. It caused a chain reaction with two other vehicles when the victim stopped at the entrance.

Sky9 was above Tuesday's accident that took the life of a 72-year-old Mary Jane Treacy from South Carolina.

Virginia State Police say texting or other cell phone use were not factors.

The more likely scenario, was that the out-of-town driver in the minivan may have been confused when she suddenly stopped at the northbound entrance to the Express Lanes.

"For us local drivers navigating around these things can be challenging, I really feel bad for the out of town drivers, they're not use to this near worst in the nation congestion and throw in toll and free lanes," Lon Anderson, of AAA Mid-Atlantic, said.

Transurban, the operator of the Capitol Beltway Express Lanes says there will be an independent review of the fatal accident. The company added signs and pavement markings after numerous crashes when the new lanes opened in 2012. They'll make even more improvements in the future.

"We've been looking to make enhancements to the entire 14 mile corridor on 495 with signage and pavement markings," Mike McGurk, Transurban spokesperson, said.

There could be more confusion once the Express Lanes on 95 open up in the early part of next year. But VDOT, Transurban and other agencies are working hard to alert motorists of the changes.

"We'll continue to work with VDOT and other DOTs out-of-state to educate the eastern seaboard. The general tip, slow down, travel safely we're all in this together on these roads," McGurk said.

AAA says if you are confused, never stop in the middle of the road. You can always call the company after your trip to explain what happened.

"A couple of bucks for a toll is the worst penalty you could suffer if you're safe, but if you do something stupid like slam on the brakes or back up or cause a sharp action and cause other drivers to become involved with you than you could be talking injury or death," Anderson said.

Tuesday's fatality is one of 291 fatal accidents on Virginia roads so far this year.

The Virginia Department of Transportation is also reminding drivers about their 'orange cones, no phones' campaign.

This summer, they expect 1,500 construction workers to be working on the I-95 Express Lanes.

According to the National Safety Council I-95 drivers are more likely to text while driving than the year before and most of the drivers who admit to using their cell phones are responding to work related issues.


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