An increase in federal funding through economic stimulus programs means more work on Indiana roads and subsequently, more work zone crashes, officials said.
In 2007, seven people were killed and 835 injured in Indiana work zone accidents. In 2008, the Indiana Department of Transportation reported 800 injuries and 14 deaths in work zones across the state.
In 2009, there were 2,225 accidents and nine deaths on state roads alone. Complete figures for injuries and deaths in work zone accidents across the state are not yet available.
“We have many contracts happening across the state now, especially with stimulus jobs,” said Joshua Bingham, spokesman for the Indiana Department of Transportation. “The funding has created more work zones and unfortunately, more accidents.”
Bingham said the state observes Work Zone Safety Awareness week every April. This year’s observance will be from April 19 to 23.
“The most important thing for people to remember is to slow down and not follow too closely,” Bingham said, adding that rear end collisions caused by those two factors are the most frequent in work zones.
Bingham stressed the importance of safety to construction workers in the zones as well.
“This is somebody’s office you’re driving through,” Bingham said.
Work zone accident statistics:
- Nationally, more than 1,000 people die in work zones each year.
- Highway workers are killed in Indiana work zones every year.In 2006, three Hoosier highway workers were killed when they were hit by cars in a work zone.
- Four out of five people killed in work zones are motorists, not highway workers.
- One in three work zone crashes is a rear-end collision.
- It takes just one minute more to travel through a two-mile work zone at 45 mph than 65 mph.
- Areas where traffic is entering or leaving work zones are the most dangerous because drivers are fighting for position.
Information from: The Times, http://www.thetimesonline.com
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