With 17 killed in Michigan work zones last year, MDOT says: "Work zone safety is in your hands"

Contact: John Richard, MDOT Office of Communications
Agency: Transportation

April 3, 2017 – It’s the time of year when construction crews and orange barrels spring into action, and that means driving through work zones. Last year in Michigan, there were 4,908 work zone crashes and 17 people lost their lives. Most of those crashes were preventable. Today kicks off National Work Zone Awareness Week (NWZAW), where safety agencies across the nation join forces in an effort to increase awareness about the importance of work zone safety. For information on today's news conference in Grand Rapids, visit: http://bit.ly/2ozobGo.

It only takes a split second of distraction to dramatically change lives forever. Watch the true story of Bob and Cyndi Kamps in a short video about a family's journey after a work zone injury: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IbGG5K6KOdQ

This year's theme for National Work Zone Awareness Week (April 3-7) is "Work zone safety is in your hands." Show your support for NWZAW by wearing orange this Wednesday, April 5. To participate, share a photo on social media of you or your team wearing orange, including the hashtags #Orange4Safety and #NWZAW. For more facts, stats and information about work zone safety, visit: www.ops.fhwa.dot.gov/wz/outreach/wz_awareness.htm and www.michigan.gov/mdotworkzones.

Preliminary 2016 Michigan work zone crash information unfortunately shows increases from 2015 numbers:

  • 17 fatalities (up from 15 in 2015)
  • 75 serious injuries ( up from 69 in 2015)
  • 4,908 total crashes ( up from 4,776 in 2015)

"The faces of people who are represented by these crash statistics could be any one of us," said State Transportation Director Kirk T. Steudle. "Each one of those numbers represents a person who left behind parents, siblings, children, and friends who were devastated by their loss. We all need to work together to bring these numbers down with the ultimate goal of zero deaths on our roadways."

As part of the Toward Zero Deaths (TZD) national safety campaign, a vision of eliminating fatalities on our nation's roads, NWZAW became a national event in 2000.