Last year was the deadliest year in over a decade in Ohio’s roadway work zones. With 30 fatalities – nearly double the number in 2014 – the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) is warning motorists of work zone dangers, and asking for their help in reversing the trend.
While motorists are more than twice as likely as workers to be injured or killed in work zones, it’s the brave men and women on the front lines who have little more than an orange barrel between them and speeding cars,” said ODOT Director Jerry Wray. “With a near-record number of construction projects currently underway all over Ohio, it’s critical that every driver be alert and slow down as they travel through work zones.”
On April 12, ODOT will host the kickoff of the National Work Zone Awareness Week with an event in Perrysburg. The event’s purpose is simple: to prevent death and injury in roadway work zones. The theme for this year’s event is “Don’t Be that Driver!”
“Out on the road, none of us wants to be that driver, who ruins someone’s commute, day, or life,” said Director Wray. “Instead, each of us wants to get home safely. In roadway work zones, engineers and construction workers make safety their top priority every day – for drivers as well as themselves. However, drivers need to do their part too.”
The Work Zone Awareness Week kickoff will also honor the memory of highway workers, whose names appear on the National Work Zone Memorial. Among additions to the memorial this year are four former Ohioans: Lee Rizor, Amber Rooks, Shawn Blubaugh and John Fletcher.
Work Zone Awareness Week became a national event in 2000 to increase public awareness of work zone safety issues. It has grown ever since, with the majority of state agencies and other organizations sponsoring high-visibility education and outreach initiatives.
Some facts to consider…
· In 2015, there were 6,035 work zone crashes in Ohio.
· In 2014, 669 fatalities occurred in work zones across the U.S.
· Driving 45 mph through a two-mile work zone will only add a minute to your travel time.
· Roads can’t last forever. They require periodic maintenance—and thus work zones. Those short-term inconveniences mean long-term benefits for moving people and goods from place to place.
· Over the last five years, work zone crashes have increased nearly 15 percent.
Motorists can avoid crashes by staying alert and giving driving their full attention, following all posted signs and obeying flaggers, and not tailgating or speeding.