Transportation officials urging drivers to navigate work zones with caution
LUCAS COUNTY, OHIO (WNWO) ?National Work Zone Awareness Week (NWZAW) is an annual spring campaign beginning at the start of construction season reminding drivers to be cautious on highway work zones.
Construction workers and Troopers know all too well what could happen if they don't.
"When they came off the bridge they lost control," said Sergeant Shawn Robinson with the Ohio state highway patrol. He was hit by a car on January 3rd 2015 while servicing another vehicle. "I was outside the car and when they struck me I fell over the guard rail and then landed about 30 feet down."
Unfortunately his incident wasn't the first and won't the last. Others are more serious.
"We've already had so far this year one ODOT worker this year who was hit and killed in Youngstown," said Rebecca Dangelo public relations manager with the Ohio Department of Transportation.
Last year in Ohio there were 19 fatalities in work zones.18 of those were motorists.
"A lot of times people think since ODOT is pushing this work zone awareness week because of our workers and it is we absolutely want them to be safe, but it's also for the motorists as well."
Following work zone safety awareness week, which began in April,ODOT is cracking down on drivers. Ohio's Move Over Law calls for drivers passing a vehicle with flashing lights to shift over one lane or slow down. At minimum the fine is $300.
"The fines for being in a work zone are typically doubled," said Dangelo.
With several long term construction projects going on in the area, transportation officials are urging drivers not to get comfortable in their commute.