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ODOT introduces new tool to combat construction zone accidents

When people think of workplace injuries, their minds are often understandably drawn to on-the-job accidents that occur in stationary work places, such as offices, factories, retail establishments and similar sites.

A great number of work-related injuries, though, including construction accidents, also occur in Ohio in areas where workers present more of a moving target. Nowhere is this truer than in the highway construction work zones that dot the state's landscape in both urban and rural areas during all but the winter months each year.

There is far more than anecdotal evidence supporting that those are comparatively dangerous places both to travel through and work in. The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) reports that close to 57,000 car and truck accidents occurred in construction zones over the past decade, with 169 fatalities resulting from those crashes. Seven of the people who died were ODOT workers busily engaged in their jobs.

National Work Zone Safety Awareness Week, a nationwide educational campaign aimed at promoting work-zone safety, runs through this week. Officials from ODOT have timed a safety announcement to coincide with the initiative.

Namely, that regards a new tool that will be in use throughout the state this year that safety experts think will make work zones safer and not inconvenience motorists traveling through them.

Specifically, the improvement relates to speed limit signs, which will be variable, meaning that they can be programmed to display slower speeds where construction is ongoing and faster speeds when work is not being carried out.

State legislators approved the variable speed limits last year.

Source: NBC4i.com, "ODOT hopes variable speed signs will reduce work zone accidents," Alex Mazer, April 16, 2013

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