District 10 expands Target: Zero initiative; launches                            Safety Website and Distracted Driving Program

MARIETTA (Thursday, August 27, 2010) - Since its inception in 1905, the Ohio Department of Transportation’s (originally Ohio Department of Highways) main objective has always been keeping the traveling public safe. Following the department’s historical mission and new Target: Zero initiative, District 10 is continuing this focus with the launch of the District 10 Safety Awareness website and Distracted Driving Program.

"No matter your mode of transportation, our top priority has always been the safety of travelers," explained District Deputy Director Karen Pawloski. "Our new safety website is designed to educate and inform travelers about various transportation related safety issues."

As part of the Ohio Department of Transportation’s (ODOT) "Target: Zero" initiative, the new website provides information on ODOT safety programs, safety tips for travelers, work zone safety, statewide crash statistics and safe driving videos. Visitors to the District 10 website can find the Safety Awareness website by going to www.dot.state.oh.us/districts/d10/safety

The "Target: Zero" initiative aims to expand the level of customer communication and public education to assure that Ohioans are increasing their own safe practices, by expanding safety campaigns that target work zone safety awareness, distracted driving, and "Ice and Snow… Take it Slow."

With more than 1,600 transportation construction projects underway this season - with projects in every county in the state – safety becomes even more important.

"We are currently advancing the largest construction program in the state’s history," said District 10 Construction Engineer Steve Williams. "Last year there were five thousand accidents in construction zones in Ohio. If we can educate motorists to be safe drivers, then we will have safer work zones."

To further the Target: Zero initiative, District 10’s Public Information Officer is expanding the district’s "Distracted Driving" pilot program aimed at educating teen drivers about texting and talking on cell phones while driving.

"We launched our pilot program last year in partnership with Marietta High School," said Rose. "The student response was incredible so we decided to expand the program to other high schools around the district. Our goal is to reach out to every high school in our district within the next year."

"The pilot program with ODOT was very successful last year," stated Marietta High School Principal William Lee. "We are excited to continue this great program at Marietta High School this year and to further educate our students how to be safe drivers."