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Fatal Work Zone Crashes Spike in 2011
“Don’t Barrel Through Work Zones” Theme for National Work Zone Awareness Week
COLUMBUS (Tuesday, April 24, 2012) –With fatal work zone crashes up 70 percent from 2010 to 2011, the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) Director Jerry Wray reminds motorists to drive smart and “Don’t Barrel through Work Zones” as part of National Work Zone Safety Awareness Week April 23-27.
“Reducing fatal crashes in work zones begins with motorists,” said Director Wray. “The consequences for driving carelessly, especially in work zones, can be deadly for both drivers and workers.”
Locally, National Work Zone Awareness Week was observed with a media event on Interstate 75 at Ohio 65 in Lima where the bridge and guardrail work units with the Ohio Department of Transportation District 1 were working.
“Motorists need to remember to remain alert when approaching or traveling through a work zone. Driver attentiveness is needed because of the changes in conditions and travel patterns which are often seen within highway work zones,” said Kirk Slusher, Ohio Department of Transportation District 1 deputy director.
A ten year analysis of work zone crashes in Ohio revealed fatal crashes in work zones have decreased until recently.  The study showed a 70 percent jump in fatal work zone crashes from 10 in 2010 to 17 in 2011.
Locally, 132 work zone crashes were recorded within the eight-county area of ODOT District 1, up from 81 the year before.
Further analysis shows of the more than 5,000 work zone crashes annually on Ohio roads, 33 percent are from drivers following too closely.
“Although ODOT continues to use new ways to improve work zone safety, the statistics are clear; motorist error is the number one cause of work zone crashes.  If drivers give their full attention, obey reduced speed limits and don’t tailgate, we can make work zones safer for everyone,” said Wray.
In recent years the department has been working to make work zones safer by increasing visibility of vehicles, making near real-time safety enhancements to existing work zones and improving work zone access for heavy equipment. 
Wray said, “We can’t do it alone. Safety is everyone’s business. Remember, ‘Don’t Barrel through Work Zones.’”
For more information,  contact: Steve Faulkner, ODOT Press Secretary, at 614-644-7101, or Rhonda Pees, ODOT District 1, 419-999-6803