For informational/historical purposes only.

NEWS RELEASE

 Ohio Department of Transportation  Internet News Release
April 7, 2003

DRIVER INATTENTION, SPEED INCREASE WORK ZONE DANGER

[COLUMBUS] It is a common occurrence on highways nationwide. Concrete barriers and narrow lane widths. Orange barrels and flashing electronic signs. Giant bulldozers, pavers and dump trucks moving in and out of traffic. Yet despite the potential danger, thousands of motorists fail to pay attention and refuse to slow down.

As construction season begins, the Ohio Department of Transportation is taking its concerns to motorists. Slow down and pay close attention in work zones: The life you save could be your own. The message is part of National Work Zone Safety Week.

Last year, there were 6,500 work zone crashes in Ohio 1,500 people were injured and 24 people died.

While construction and maintenance workers are at obvious risk, motorists and passengers are four times more likely to be injured or killed.

"Our employees and contractors risk their lives every day to repair and rebuild our roads and highways," said ODOT Director Gordon Proctor. "But if you dont care about them, think of yourself. It only takes a split-second of bad judgement to end a life."

According to Ohio crash statistics for 2002, driver error accounted for 87 percent of all work zone crashes in Ohio and 92 percent of all injuries and fatalities. The most common causes were following too close, failure to yield, improper lane changing and speeding. About 70 percent of work zone crashes occur at interchanges where motorists are merging.

Proctor said ODOT does what it can to reduce accidents by reducing work zone congestion. The department spends about $30 million annually to maintain more lanes of traffic, speed the pace of construction and conduct more work on weekends and nights when fewer people are on the road.

In addition, ODOT employs full-time work zone managers to design and monitor work zones, and is testing new materials to make signs, pavement markings and other warning devices more visible at night or in wet conditions.

"ODOT is taking great precautions while we work on the road to ensure motorists and construction workers are safe," said Proctor. "Motorists can help by exercising good judgment and common sense in the work zone."

  • Stay alert and give driving your full attention.
  • Follow all posted signs and obey flaggers.
  • Dont tailgate; Most crashes in work zones are rear-end collisions.
  • Be patient. Traffic delays are sometimes unavoidable.
  • Merge early and be courteous to other drivers.
  • Dont speed. It takes less than a minute more to travel through a two-mile work zone at 45 mph than at 65 mph.

For information on statewide work zones, log onto: www.buckeyetraffic.org