STATE WARNS DRIVERS: 'SLOW DOWN OR PAY UP'
Work Zone Safety Week Begins with Target Enforcement Announcement
(COLUMBUS) - State officials are taking a get tough approach with
motorists who risk the lives of others by speeding through
construction work zones.
Beginning April 15, the Ohio Department of Transportation will pay
local law enforcement and the Ohio State Highway Patrol to enforce
lower speeds and safer driving habits through eight major work zones
across Ohio. The enforcement effort will continue throughout the
Sixteen other targeted work zones will receive special signing and
speed trailers, which display motorists speeds. Each site will also
be monitored closely to identify and respond to crash problems.
"Over the years, we've warned people of the lives lost and
irrevocably changed by work zone crashes," said ODOT Director Gordon
Proctor. "But when appeals to the heart fail, we must appeal to the
wallet. Motorists must 'slow down or pay up' when driving too fast or
too aggressively in Ohio work zones."
Although fines vary across the state, the maximum fine for speeding
through a work zone is $300 plus court costs.
The enforcement effort is being kicked off nationally as part of
National Work Zone Safety Awareness Week, which runs April 3-9. Events
are scheduled across the country to raise awareness for work zone
dangers and encourage drivers to slow down and pay attention. This
year, motorists will encounter more than 900 ODOT work zones
Historically, work zone crashes have fluctuated greatly from year
to year. In 2004, there were 6,389 work zone crashes in Ohio with
2,250 injuries and 14 deaths. In 2003, there were 7,409 work zone
crashes with 2,504 injuries and 16 deaths, including two ODOT workers.
While construction and maintenance workers are at obvious risk,
national studies indicate motorists and passengers are four times more
likely to be injured or killed in work zones.
"Drivers have the most at stake when traveling through work zones,"
said Proctor. "Yet they can also do the most to keep themselves and
others safe by driving at lower speeds."
ODOT says the most common causes of crashes are following too
closely, failure to yield and speeding. Many work zone crashes occur
at interchanges where motorists are merging onto the highway.
Proctor said ODOT does what it can to reduce crashes 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
In addition, ODOT employs full-time work zone managers to design
and monitor work zones. The department is also testing new materials
to make signs, pavement markings and other warning devices more
visible at night or in wet conditions. In 2004, the department began
using speed trailers in work zones to get motorists attention, which
will also be expanded this year.
Motorists can help ODOT keep highways safe by using good judgment
and common sense in work zones:
- Stay alert and give driving your full attention.
- Follow all posted signs and obey flaggers.
- Don't tailgate; most crashes in work zones are rear-end collisions.
- Merge early and be courteous to other drivers.
- Don't speed. It takes less than a minute more to travel a two-mile
work zone at 45 mph than 65 mph.
- Always wear a seatbelt.
For information on statewide work zones, log onto
Potential 2005 Work Zone Enforcement
(April 15 - November 15)
xls (47 Kb) or
pdf (16 Kb)
Work Zone Crashes in
(by ODOT District/county)
Mb) or pdf
Ohio Construction Zone -
Maintenance Area Crashes
(Injury and Death Yearly
Statistics and Chart)
Kb) or pdf