Fatal Work Zone Crashes Spike in 2011
ODOT Director visits I-71/670 work zone safety awareness event
COLUMBUS (Thursday, April 19, 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” today as part of National Work Zone Safety Awareness Week.
“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.”
A ten year analysis of work zone crashes in Ohio revealed fatal crashes in work zones have decreased until recently. The study showed a seventy percent jump in fatal work zone crashes from 10 in 2010 to 17 in 2011.
Further analysis shows of the more than 5,000 work zone crashes annually on Ohio roads, 33 percent are from drivers following too closely.
In a speech today to media and transportation officials at the I-71/670 interchange project in Columbus, Wray remarked, “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.”
CH2M HILL Senior Vice President Bryan Nicol said, “The key for all drivers traveling through work zones is paying close attention, wearing your seat belt and slowing down. I ask all motorists to avoid distractions while driving and drive defensively in work zones to make sure they arrive safely at their chosen destination.”
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.
Wm. Brian Burgett, Corporate President of Kokosing Construction Company said, “Work zone tragedies have caused our employees to question whether working on highway projects is worth the risk of leaving their children without a mom or dad. While Kokosing does everything it can to instill safety in our employees, we need the public’s help in making sure our work zones are truly safe.”
Wray said, “We can’t do it alone. Safety is everyone’s business. Remember, ‘Don’t Barrel through Work Zones.’”