LIMA — With the long-term construction along Interstate 75 and Harding Highway in Lima, the Ohio Department of Transportation is stressing the importance of National Work Zone Safety Week.
“There are many accidents in construction zones throughout the state and the nation,” said Scott Mullins, with ODOT. “A lot of the work zone accidents are attributed to speed.”
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the number of deaths in construction zones related to vehicle crashes doubled from eight in 2009 to 16 in 2011 in Ohio. An ODOT study showed 56,945 vehicle crashes occurred in Ohio work zones from 2003 to 2012. Of those crashes, 20,590 occurred when construction workers were present.
Since the orange cones and barriers went up in Lima about a month ago, Mullins said there have been six accidents in the work zone. He doesn’t believe any of those accidents resulted in injuries. Last weekend, there was an accident in the construction zone on the highway that resulted in a secondary crash. This means there was another car accident that resulted in the backup from the first accident.
The Ohio State Highway Patrol is pushing a new initiative called Quick Clear in order to prevent some of these secondary crashes and keep drivers safe.
“Anytime there’s an accident, (if their car is operable) people should go ahead and move off to the side of the road as quickly as they can to open up the lane of traffic,” said Lt. Brant Zemelka, with the Lima post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol. “We’re finding the more secondary crashes occur when the lane is closed.”
The Quick Clear program aims to protect first responders and motorists when a car accident occurs.