Drivers Share Responsibility for Work Zone
The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) participates in Work
Zone Safety Awareness Week (WZSAW) each year in order to save lives
and prevent injuries in work zones.
The theme for
the 2006 WZSAW campaign is Working at the Speed of Night. Many
states, including Ohio, are now completing construction work at night
in order to reduce congestion and inconvenience fewer motorists. Of
Ohios 45 interstate improvement projects and five mega projects for
2006, all include at least a portion of night work. Although traffic
volumes are lower at night, so is visibility, ODOT Assistant Director
Richard Martinko said. Drivers need to stay alert and expect the
unexpected when driving through work zones at night.
In Ohio, there
were 6,389 work zone crashes in 2004. Of those crashes, 14 people were
killed and 2,250 people were injured. In 2005, there were 5,854 work
zone crashes with 20 fatalities and 2,076 injuries. While overall work
zone accidents and injuries have gone down, fatalities have gone up.
ODOT continues to expand its efforts to make work zones safer, but
these efforts can only go so far.
work zones extensively and spends additional funds each year on extra
signs and warning devices to increase safety in work zones, said ODOT
Director Gordon Proctor. But motorists who exercise caution and good
judgment make the largest impact on reducing work zone crashes.
An analysis of
Ohio work zone crashes from 2001-2005 revealed the number one cause of
work zone crashes was following too closely. Other causes include
failure to control, improper lane change, failure to yield, driver
inattention and excessive speed, making motorist error the number one
cause of work zone crashes by an overwhelming majority.
Last year, ODOT
spent $35 million to reduce work zone congestion and accidents by:
conducting more work at night and on weekends when fewer motorists use
the roadway; rewarding contractors for early completion and penalizing
them for delays and maintaining two lanes in each direction on the
interstates during peak hours whenever possible. ODOT will continue to
use these methods to reduce congestion and accidents in work zones.
ODOT is also
continuing a pilot program in 2006 to closely monitor and add
increased law enforcement to work zones around the state. In 2005,
work zones with increased law enforcement had a 17.7 percent lower
crash rate than those without increased law enforcement. In addition,
by closely monitoring work zone crash patterns in real time, ODOT is
working to respond to crash problems quickly and do everything
possible on its end to reduce the likelihood of work zone crashes.
To do their
part, when driving in work zones, motorists can increase safety by
following these guidelines:
Stay alert and
give driving your full attention.
posted signs and obey flaggers.
or speed; Most crashes in work zones are rear-end collisions.
unexpected; Work zones are changing environments.
Be aware that
normal traffic patterns may be shifted.
Every year more
than 1,000 people nationwide both motorists and highway workers
are injured or killed in work zone crashes. In 2004, the most recent
year for which complete nationwide statistics are available, 1,068
people died in work zone crashes.
ODOT is utilizing extra law enforcement, analyzing crash reports
and improving maintenance of traffic in these work zones in an
effort to reduce crashes - and learn more about what types of work
zones are more prone to crashes.
A state map with 2006's targeted
work zones highlighted.
click to enlarge (1.13Mb PDF)
2006 Target Work Zone Locations
the work zones we are targeting for 2006 and what type of extra
enforcement or monitoring we are doing in that work zone.
click to enlarge (20 Kb PDF)
Historical Work Zone Crash Charts
Frequency of Work Zone Crashes
by Contributing Factor and Year (2001-2005)
click to enlarge (16 Kb PDF)
Ohio Work Zone Summary
Statistics (2001 - 2005)
Fatalities, Injuries and Total Crashes for all vehicles
click to enlarge (12 Kb PDF)