ODOT and Ohio State Highway Patrol team up for National Work Zone Awareness Week


LIMA – For the annual Spring Campaign, National Work Zone Awareness Week, the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) and the Ohio State Highway Patrol (OSHP) recently came together to urge drivers to do showing increased caution in the work areas, on US 30 where Van Wert’s teams were sealing the cracks in the pavement.

“Teams are there every day to work to make the roads safe for everyone,” said Mark Zielke, Van Wert County Director of Transportation. “All they ask in return is that the drivers make the work area safe for them. Be careful, move when possible and slow down so they can do their jobs and get home, ”he said.

Already this year, with the construction season barely started, there have been 667 work area accidents, three fatalities and 60 ODOT crew strikes.

“The safety of work areas is such an important issue,” said Jenifer Dick, Allen County road technician, of a crew strike on Interstate 75 that occurred last month. . “Put down distractions, phones, computers, whatever. Just put it down. We all want to come home at night, ”she said.

On March 2, Dick was working with crews to sweep the decks of I-75 bridges just south of State Route 81 in Lima. They were nearing completion of the bridge when a semi-trailer hit Caleb Vorhees’ truck carrying the arrow board. It was parked by the side of the road, to the right of the white line. The semi-trailer left the taxiway, hitting the driver’s side doors. The semi rebounded and came to a standstill in the middle. Vorhees, who is married with two young children, suffered bruises and burns from the impact of the truck and side airbags as well as seat belt injuries to his chest. He was absent from work for two weeks due to his injuries. The truck Caleb was driving was showcased at an ODOT Work Zone awareness event on Monday in Columbus.

Despite lower traffic volumes in 2020, there were 4,540 accidents, 19 fatalities and 125 ODOT crew strikes in Ohio work areas.

This construction season, ODOT and OSHP continue to coordinate to make work areas safer for road workers. OSHP provides targeted traffic enforcement inside work areas and air support through the Patrol Aviation Section. Last year, 49% of the 7,377 tickets issued were for speeding more than 20 mph over the posted limit.

“Work areas are a dangerous place for employees. Soldiers will be in the area watching out for dangerous driving, speeding and passing / slowing down violations, ”said Sergeant Adam Brincefield, OSHP Deputy Station Commander Van Wert. “This year, the enforcement of work zones will again be a top priority to provide a safe driving environment for everyone,” he said.

Most of those killed in the work areas are motorists, passengers and pedestrians. Statistics from the National Work Zone Safety Information Clearinghouse show that there were 762 fatal accidents in work areas across the United States, resulting in 842 fatalities in 2019. In addition, 135 road workers were killed in work areas in 2019.

In 2020, OSHP unveiled a Work Zone Dashboard that provides up-to-date statistics on Ohio work zones and an overview of how soldiers work there more safely. Since 2016, more than 54,000 citations have been issued. Of these, 37% were for speeds above 20 mph above the posted limit.

National Construction Zone Awareness Week is an annual spring campaign held at the start of the construction season that encourages safe driving in road construction zones. The key message is that drivers should be extra careful in construction zones.

Wear orange on Wednesday to provide a visible reminder and to show your support for families who have lost loved ones in work area accidents.

This year, the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) hosted the launch event on April 27 with the theme “Drive Safe.” Safe work. Save lives. ”If we ALL work together, we can achieve zero fatalities on our roads and in our work areas.

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