Ohio has more deadly construction zone accidents than larger states

Updated: Oct. 8, 2017 at 8:13 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - The state of Ohio has more fatal construction zone accidents than other states that are geographically larger because the state has more construction projects an Ohio Department of Transportation official said Sunday.

Justin Chesnic, a public information officer for ODOT, told Cleveland 19 that Ohio spends about two billion dollars a year on construction projects. He said the state is "aggressive" about construction project plans and as such has more than other geographically bigger states – which means there are more chances for accidents.

According to information from the US Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration, on average, a work zone crash happened every 5.4 minutes in 2015 across the country. Ohio had 28 construction zone fatalities in 2015, 17 in 2014 and 20 in 2013.  Each year, Ohio was in the top ten states with the highest number of fatal construction zone accidents. In 2013 and 2015, Texas, Florida, California, Georgia and Illinois were the only states with more fatal construction zone accidents than Ohio.

Chesnic said that so far this year, there have been 105 incidents where ODOT crews were "struck while doing their jobs." He said that this time of year is particularly active for highway construction.

"There's a lot of work going on out there. They're paving the roadways, they're striping the roadways," said Chesnic. "Once that winter weather comes in then obviously crews are going to slow down and there's not going to be a lot of work in those winter months."

ODOT statistics for the past ten years state that more than three quarters of accidents that happen in construction zones happy during daylight, when the roads are dry.

"Really, they can happen at any time, day or night, they can happen at any time," said Chesnic.

He said ODOT recommends drivers leave between 30 and 50 feet in between their car and the car in front of them. The most common type of construction zone accident is a rear end collision and most of those were caused by people following too closely.

"Slow down, your life depends on it, so give yourself some extra space," said Chesnic.

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