For informational/historical purposes only.

NEWS RELEASE

Ohio Department of Transportation Internet News Release
April 10, 2001

Work Zone Accidents Rise; Hidden Dangers in Nighttime Construction

Delaware   While most central Ohioans are fast asleep this summer, the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) and its contractors will be out in full force, reconstructing bridges and roadways around central Ohio.

Of the 32 construction projects scheduled this year for Franklin County, 13 will involve nighttime construction to make commuting easier for motorists.

But with the additional convenience comes an added responsibility: motorists must slow down and pay attention in work zones.

Thats the message ODOT and the Ohio State Highway Patrol (OSP) are taking to motorists this week, as Ohio and the nation focus on National Work Zone Safety Week, sponsored by the Federal Highway Administration.

"Tragically, the vast majority of accidents are preventable," said Jack Marchbanks, ODOT District 6 deputy director. "We can't emphasize enough that motorists need to slow down and pay attention in work zones."

Work zone accidents in central Ohio have risen substantially over the past six years. Since 1993, the number of accidents rose 42 percent from 661 crashes in 1993 to 1,135 in 1999 (the most recent statistics available).

About 60 percent of all work zone fatalities occur at night, according to national statistics.

"Nighttime construction poses unique risks for our workers," said Marchbanks. "At night its harder for drivers to see, and more motorists are likely to be fatigued or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol."

In 1999, Franklin County had the most work zone accidents in the state. Two people died and 493 people were injured in a total of 951 crashes for the year. Statewide 26 motorists and workers died; 1,933 were injured.

Day or night, ODOT and OSP say drivers can help themselves and others by following a few simple safety tips:

  • Slow down and pay attention; speed and inattention are the number one cause of work zone accidents. And, motorists are far more likely than highway workers to be injured.

  • Expect the unexpected, work zones are changing environments

  • Dont tailgate; most work zone crashes are rear-end collisions

  • Merge as soon as possible; motorists can help maintain traffic flow by moving to the appropriate lane at first notice.

  • Calm down. Road work is not there to personally inconvenience you; its there to improve the roads for everyone.