News Briefs

Talk To Teen Drivers About Road Rules

teen driving artworkOct. 21, 2016: It’s National Teen Driver Safety Week. 

VDOT is joining with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to encourage all parents or other family members to talk to teen drivers about the rules of the road.

Vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death in teens, ahead of all other types of injury, disease or violence. 

NHTSA’s website has detailed information and statistics on teen driving and five basic rules parents can use to help save the lives of teen drivers:

  • No drinking and driving.
  • Buckle up. Every trip, every time, everyone—front seat and back.
  • Eyes on the road, hands on the wheel. All the time.
  • Stop speeding before it stops you.
  • No more than one passenger at a time.

You can help protect teen drivers by talking with them about these risks. 

Surveys show that teens whose parents set firm rules for driving typically engage in less risky driving behaviors and are involved in fewer crashes.


Hampton Roads District Workers Praised for Quick Action

bus with burned brakesOct. 17, 2016: Two of VDOT's Stony Creek Area Headquarters employees are credited with helping avoid a potentially dangerous situation involving a Sussex County school bus on Oct. 4.

Transportation Operators Tony Branch and Joe Rideout were working in a dump truck on Route 659 when they smelled brakes burning and then spotted smoke coming from the rear tire of the bus.

The pair immediately flagged down the driver to let the driver know about the fire. 

Tony used a fire extinguisher to contain the fire while Joe helped the driver evacuate the children from the bus.

Their actions helped avert a potentially “devastating and life threatening situation,” according to their manager, Maintenance Supervisor Terence Stiltner. 

“All the children and the bus driver were able to go home to their loved ones unharmed,” Stiltner said.


Salem District Employees Pull Child from Harm’s Way

Troutville crewOct. 14, 2016: As crew members from our Salem District’s Troutville area headquarters prepared to lay asphalt in a Botetourt County subdivision, a call of “Nobody move!” went out on the radio. 

The flaggers had spotted a little girl running toward the road, and into the middle of the work zone, in her bare feet.

“It was a pretty hot day and I was concerned because she was on the asphalt road without shoes on and so close to our equipment,” said Transportation Operator Greg Fowler, who picked up the child.

The crew talked with and entertained the girl to keep her calm. 

After about 30 minutes of knocking on doors, a neighbor was able to contact the mother and the little girl was returned safely.

“This is a good reminder to everyone to be cautious and not get into a routine because you never know who or what will run out into the road,” Transportation Operator Marshall Funk said. 

“I am proud of the people I get to work with every day for their fast reaction and the way they handled the situation safely.”


Hampton Roads District Helps Highlight Historic Cemetery

Mount Calvary markerOct. 12, 2016: A historically black cemetery in Portsmouth now has a state historical marker thanks in part to VDOT’s Hampton Roads District.

Cultural Resources Coordinator Ken Stuck helped the African American Historical Society of Portsmouth apply for the marker for the Mount Calvary Cemetery Complex. 

The land encompasses four burial grounds that host the final resting place of community leaders, former slaves, Civil War-era U.S. Colored Troops, late-19th century elected officials and veterans of World War I and World War II.

VDOT sponsored the application as part of a mitigation agreement stemming from the Martin Luther King Jr. Freeway Extension project. 

However, construction did not disturb the cemeteries, Stuck said. A ramp was shifted slightly to avoid impacts, and an archeological dig helped identify the location of at least 95 unmarked graves.

Ken attended a dedication ceremony on last month for the marker, which VDOT also paid for and installed. 

The day served as the culmination of an effort to highlight what he called “everybody’s history.”

“To be able to recognize another portion of that history is just very fulfilling,” he said.


Page last modified: Oct. 21, 2016