Commissioners helping ODOT promote work zone safety
NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER) (April 11, 2022) – Ohio Department of Transportation officials are reminding drivers to slow down and pay attention in work zones as they get ready to kick off another busy construction season.
Representatives from District 11 including Deputy Director Thomas Corey met with the Tuscarawas County Commissioners this morning to talk about the issues road workers have been encountering, the biggest one being inattentive motorists.
“We’re still talking about driving while under the influence, to wear your seatbelt and, of course slow down and things, but the new killer, so to speak, is distracted driving,” Corey said. “There’s some statistics that support [that] within five minutes of accidents now, over 50-percent of people had some type of interaction with their cell phone device before impact.”
Corey was there with District spokeswoman Lauren Borell and Highway Technician Brandon Anderson for the reading of a proclamation declaring this National Work Zone Safety Awareness Week in Tuscarawas County. Anderson told commissioners he’s had a few close calls in the 3 and a half years he’s been on the job.
“I mean, people are just going way too fast when we’re out on the highway working. You know, we all have families we want to get home to every day. I have a 15-month-old baby I want to go home to every day, and my wife, of course.”
Borell says promoting work zone safety is a focus not just this week but throughout the year.
“It’s every day that this is an important outreach for us. You know, we’re constantly spreading the word through social media and everything but this week we especially celebrate our workers and the importance of their safety.”
Of the nearly 4,800 work zones crashes the state highway patrol logged last year, 35-percent occurred while workers were present. Twenty workers were injured and one died as a result of those crashes. ODOT says its workers, vehicles, and equipment were struck 154 times in 2021 and more than 70 times already this year.