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ODOT, State Patrol Bring Attention to National Work Zone Safety Week
Interstate 75 project in Allen County focus of Quick Clear initiative
Lima (Friday, April 19, 2013) – It’s a theme that is repeated each year during National Work Zone Safety Week—drive cautiously through construction work zones.
But there is a special emphasis on work zone safety this construction season as Interstate 75 in Allen County is under construction and will be through 2016.
“Work zone safety is something we emphasize every year. But when you have an important corridor like Interstate 75 undergoing major construction, safety needs to be a special point of emphasis,” said Kirk Slusher, Ohio Department of Transportation District 1 deputy director.
National Work Zone Safety Week, being observed April 14-21, was highlighted today as representatives of ODOT and the Ohio State Highway Patrol held an event on the Ohio 117/309 corridor on Lima’s east side where major construction is taking place.
Discussed at the event was the state’s Quick Clear initiative, a traffic incident management program which aims to protect first responders and motorists in the event of a traffic accident. “The idea behind Quick Clear is to clear minor accidents out of the travel lanes as quickly as possible to reduce the possibility of secondary crashes and to help protect first responders. And in more serious accidents, keep to a minimum the amount of roadway needed to safely work the scene,” said Lt. Brandt Zemelka with the Ohio State Highway Patrol Lima post.
Zemelka said it is believed Quick Clear will save lives and reduce injuries by reducing congestion, reducing the exposure that law enforcement, fire and emergency medical services personnel have during traffic incidents, and by reducing the risk of more deadly secondary crashes.
If you’re involved in an accident, the Quick Clear initiative suggests motorists do the following:
1) Check to see if you or any passengers with you were injured in the automobile accident. Do not hesitate to call “911” for medical help if anyone needs medical attention.
2) Stay calm and safely get out of the way of traffic. If your car is operable, safely move it to the shoulder. If your car does not work, turn on your warning lights. Your safety is most important.
3) Call the police if the auto accident involves severe damage, injury or death
4) Obtain information from all other drivers, including name, address, phone, email and insurance information.
More people are dying in highway construction work zones as a result of vehicle crashes. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the number of deaths in construction zones because of vehicle crashes doubled from eight in 2009 to 16 in 2011 in Ohio. Those numbers are the most recent available and include both motorists and construction workers.
An ODOT analysis revealed that 56,945 vehicle crashes occurred in Ohio work zones from 2003 to 2012. Of those crashes, 20,590 happened when construction workers were present. In fact, a person is more likely to be injured or killed in a work zone on a dry and sunny August afternoon than any other time of year.
The top causes of work zone crashes are speed, following too closely, failure to control and improper lane changes.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (2002-2011):
  • 169 people died in vehicle crashes in Ohio work zone in the ten-year period from 2002 to 2011 (the most recent information available)
  • 28 people died in 2002, the highest number of vehicle crash deaths in a single year in Ohio work zones
  • 8 people died in 2009, the lowest number of vehicle crash deaths in a single year in Ohio work zones
  • Those numbers are on the rise: From 2009 to 2011, the number of vehicle crash deaths in Ohio work zones doubled from 8 to 16
  • Information available here:
According to ODOT (2003 to 2012):
  • 7 ODOT employees have been killed in construction zones in Ohio in the last decade from 2003 to 2012
  • 56,945 vehicle crashes occurred in Ohio work zones in that same 10-year period
  • 20,590 vehicle crashes occurred in Ohio work zones when workers were present
  • 19,988 of the total vehicle crashes were rear end collisions
  • The top three causes of work zone crashes are:
    1. Following too closely
    2. Failure to control
    3. Improper lane changes
***ALL are preventable***
  • Excessive speed has directly resulted in more than 1,500 work zone crashes since 2003
  • You are more likely to be injured or killed in a work zone on a dry and sunny August afternoon than any other time of year.
Ohio’s highways are essential to keeping and creating new jobs. With a mission to provide easy movement of people and goods from place to place, the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) is responsible for maintaining one of the largest transportation networks in the nation. Guided by ethical principles and accountability, ODOT works to improve safety, enhance travel and advance economic development. As a $2.8 billion enterprise, the department wisely invests in its core services of snow and ice removal, annual construction program and highway maintenance operations.
For more information contact:
Rhonda Pees, Public Information Officer, at (419) 999-6803
or email