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National Work Zone Safety Awareness Week
ODOT urges Drivers to Look Up, Hang Up and go ‘Slow for the Cone Zone’

COLUMBUS (Monday, April 19, 2010) - Aimed at reducing the 5,000 accidents in construction zones last year, the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) is urging drivers to look up, hang up cell phones and go “Slow for the Cone Zone” during this summer’s historic construction season.

ODOT is joining departments of transportation in all 50 states to recognize National Work Zone Safety Awareness Week, a coast-to-coast effort to reduce accidents in highway construction zones.  Safety experts are taking special aim this year at motorists who are using cell phones while driving through work zones.

To remind Ohio drivers of the need to travel “Slow in the Cone Zone,” ODOT today teamed with the Cleveland State University Transportation Center and local construction labor leaders to kickoff this year’s National Work Zone Safety Awareness Week.  Today’s rally in Cleveland is the start of week-long efforts across the state, aimed at reducing crashes in work zones along Ohio’s roadways.

“There are a lot of variables in work zones - the cones, signs, equipment and workers. With reduced speed limits and traffic lane shifts,  it’s important to slow down and be aware of your surroundings in a work zone at all times of the day - for everyone’s safety,” said ODOT Director Jolene M. Molitoris, who joined CSU students and representatives of the Ohio Highway Patrol and Laborers Local Union 860 at Monday’s event.

With more than 1,600 transportation construction projects underway this summer - in every county in the state - safety experts say it’s even more critical that drivers be alert and follow posted speed limits when traveling through construction zones.

In 2009, there were 5,012 crashes in work zones along Ohio’s roadways. Thirteen people lost their lives. While the numbers are down from the year before, it still represents one work zone crash every two hours in Ohio. 

Several ODOT facilities – including the District 12 headquarters in Garfield Heights – will be displaying 13 orange cones outside, paying tribute to the 13 motorists killed in work zone crashes last year.

An ODOT analysis shows that the causes of most work zone related crashes are speeding, vehicles following too close together and drivers making improper lane changes.

To help drivers safely navigate Ohio’s historic construction season, ODOT is offering the latest information on all of the construction projects in Ohio that might impact travel on www.BuckeyeTraffic.org. ODOT’s premier Web site offers up-to-the-minute road conditions and details on highway construction projects in every area of the state.

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For more information contact: Scott Varner, ODOT Central Office Communications, at 614-644-8640

or your local ODOT District Public Information Office, at 216-584-2006