NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER) (April 19, 2023) – The local ODOT office is displaying a somber reminder to encourage drivers to pay attention when they’re passing through areas with orange cones and barrels.
There’s a temporary memorial behind the District 11 headquarters in New Philadelphia for the 23 people who died from crashes in work zones along Ohio’s roadways last year. Spokesperson Lauren Borell says the display is visible from U.S. 250 and is part of the nationwide Work Zone Awareness Week campaign that runs through Friday.
“It is imperative that folks out there pay attention while driving, they put the distractions down, and watch out for the signs, watch for the folks that are working out there. They all have someone that loves them waiting for them to get home safely to them each and every day, we want you to get home safe, too.”
She says they’re hopeful the new distracted driving law that just went into effect statewide will reduce the number of work-zone-related crashes and the close calls workers experience far too often.
“If you look at other states that have that law already set, the data speaks for itself, and we really look forward to that six-month period of warnings being over and it becoming full swing. I know the state Highway Patrol is taking it very seriously, and you will see those citations going around and, hopefully, we see more and more folks putting their phones away while driving and really just making that a habit.”
The agency will be sharing videos and safety messages on social media all this week. Borell says you can show support and help bring even more awareness to the cause by wearing orange clothing today, snapping a photo, and posting it with the hashtag WorkZoneSafety.