MDOT releases 2013 crash data, promotes safety during National Work Zone Awareness Week

Contact: Barbara Hicks, MDOT Office of Communications, 517-335-2482
Agency: Transportation

Fast Facts:
- April 7-11 is National Work Zone Awareness Week across the United States.
- An AASHTO video PSA was released on YouTube to heighten awareness.
- Compared to 2012, crashes were down 11 percent, injuries down nearly 6 percent, fatalities down 33 percent, but serious injuries were up 87 percent.

April 7, 2014 -- Statewide work zone crash statistics released today by the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) in observance of National Work Zone Awareness Week suggest an alarming trend: the number of serious injuries in Michigan work zones went up from 57 in 2012 to 107 in 2013, even while the number of overall crashes declined.

MDOT work zoneMDOT said there were 4,080 crashes, 1,112 injuries, and 10 fatalities in Michigan work zones in 2013, as compared to 4,592 crashes, 1,181 injuries, and 15 fatalities the year before. Work zone crashes in Michigan resulted in motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians being killed. While there were worker fatalities in 2013, none involved motor vehicles.

"Drivers must pay complete attention to everything that is going on in a work zone in order to safely react to changing conditions," said State Transportation Director Kirk T. Steudle. "Stay safe by paying attention not only to workers, but to stopped traffic in front of you and to other drivers attempting to merge, many at the last minute. We are going to be drilling down into the data to learn more about what may have led to last year's rise in serious injuries, but even at this early stage, we can say that many of these crashes could have been avoided if drivers had been more alert behind the wheel."

The Michigan State Police (MSP) and the Michigan Infrastructure and Transportation Association (MITA) are joining MDOT in reminding motorists to always drive carefully in construction work zones on state and local roads.

"The Michigan State Police is pleased to once again partner with MDOT to help raise awareness and create a safe environment for workers and motorists in work zones," said Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue, MSP director. "Enforcement is not enough; motorists must slow down, be alert and stay attentive as they drive through work zones."

"We have been all over the state training road construction workers on safe work habits," said Rob Coppersmith, vice president of membership services for MITA. "But the one thing we can't control is driver behavior. We are asking anyone who drives in construction zones to exercise caution, and put down their cell phones so that road construction workers can go home to their families at the end of the day."

National Work Zone Awareness Week, April 7-11, is observed across the country. To raise awareness, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) has released a public service announcement (PSA) to remind drivers to slow down and look out for workers and lower speed limits in construction work zones. The PSA is available on YouTube at www.youtube.com/watch?v=wpZKhgTtCXw.

For more information about work zone safety, visit MDOT's website at: www.michigan.gov/workzonesafety.

Roadway Work Zone Safety - We're All in This Together.