HANCOCK COUNTY, OH (WTOL) - To wrap up National Work Zone Safety Week, ODOT is stressing to drivers how dangerous road work can be for workers.
Over the last five years more than 600 workers have been killed nationwide along highways work zones. And with construction season beginning, ODOT and the Ohio State Highway Patrol want to make sure drivers are being safe.
ODOT officials say next to speeding, the number one danger on the highway for their construction crews is distracted drivers.
"There's a lot of distractions out there, cellphones and other things, all the time. And especially in work zones we need their full attention on the road," said Chris Hughes, ODOT District 1 Project Engineer.
To help the speeding, the state recently approved the use of variable speed limit signs that can be changed whenever needed through work zones.
"When workers are present, the speed limit will be lowered to 55 miles per hour, and there will be some flashing lights that will indicate when workers are present," said Hughes.
Ohio State Highway Patrol will be cracking down on distracted driving this weekend. And in construction zones, all fines are doubled if workers are present.
"It's just everybody's responsibility for the safety of the workers. It's the motoring public, it's the highway patrol's responsibility, it's the workers responsibility, but we all have to do it together," said Lt. Jerrod Savidge with the Ohio State Highway Patrol.
Lieutenant Jerrod Savidge says that the act of driving has become a passive activity now with drivers spending so much time doing other things while in the car. That is why the patrol will be keeping an eye out for anyone who isn't paying full attention to the road.
"They're either on their cell phone, listening to the radio or they're talking to people in the back seat," Savidge said. "And then you come up to a construction zone, such as this, where traffic is slowed down or even backed up or stopped. Then we get people getting into accidents where they're running into the back of people."