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WORK ZONE FATALITIES HAVE DECLINED, BUT CAUTION STILL NEEDED

ith construction season about to get underway, the Ohio News Network (ONN) reported on April 10, 2012, that there would be hundreds of construction projects statewide. According to ONN, the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) said that there were more than 5,000 work zone crashes across the state last year, resulting in 17 deaths and 152 serious injuries. Because of the number of work zones and how dangerous those areas can so often be, Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers are telling drivers to pay attention while behind the wheel.

The start of construction season also marks the 2012 National Work Zone Awareness Week, which runs from April 23-27. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has partnered with the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) and the American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATSSA) to coordinate and sponsor the event every April since 1999.

The good news is that the efforts appear to have been paying off. The Mansfield News Journal reported on April 14, 2012, that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System shows the number of work zone fatalities has decreased in the United States every year since 2002. According to the Journal, the 598 fatalities that crashes in work zones caused in 2010 was a 50 percent decrease from 2002, when 1,186 work zone fatalities occurred.

In Ohio, fines can be doubled for any motorist speeding in a work zone. However, the additional monetary penalty would be a lot easier for most drivers to overcome than the additional financial penalties—not to mention the emotional toll—for striking a construction worker. On Friday, we will discuss some tips for motorists to keep in mind while on the highways during the construction season to avoid these types of auto accidents.

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