ODOT Work Zone Illustrates Impaired and Distracted Driving
Look Up, Hang Up and Slow Up
COLUMBUS (April 5, 2011) – Wearing Fatal Vision goggles that simulate three times the blood alcohol legal limit in Ohio, Columbus area television reproters, many of them texting on their cell phones, drove through a mock work zone as part of the Ohio Department of Transportation’s Work Zone Safety Awareness Week.
Driving 25 miles per hour or less, the reporters hit the barrels and admitted the goggles made it hard to see exactly where the orange barrels were even though it was broad daylight and the sun was out.
“It simply is not safe to drive through a construction work zone doing anything but paying attention and slowing down,” said Ferzan M. Ahmed, ODOT District 6 Deputy Director. “Our data shows the major causes of work zone crashes are all preventable, which means driver behaviors have to change.”
The top three leading work zone crashes in Ohio last year were following too closely, failture to control, and improper lane changes.
ODOT, Columbus, Dublin, and Hilliard police along with the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, the Ohio State Highway Patrol and the Ohio Contractor’s Association came came together urging motorists to be safe while driving through work zones.
Franklin County Sheriff’s Deputy Richard Verhoeven shared his personal work zone accident. “I was out of my cruiser when the driver hit me. Luckily he was not going fast because he just didn’t see me. There were dump trucks, a back hoe and lots of orange barrels in the work zone, but he didn’t see me,” said Verhoeven.
April 4 – 8 is National Work Zone Safety Awareness Week, which typically marks the start of construction season. Work zones are familiar sights from now until November and that is why drivers are urged to look up, hang up and slow up.