Oregon State Police (OSP) along with our law enforcement partners join ODOT and transportation agencies across the country in raising awareness about the importance of traveling safely through road construction work zones during “National Work Zone Awareness Week”, April 7 – 11, 2014.
This year’s theme, “Work Zone Speeding: A Costly Mistake”, aims to raise awareness of speeding and the effect speed and unsafe driving has on work zone safety. Traffic crashes cause serious injuries and death. Nationally, an average of 595 people is killed in work zone crashes each year. According to ODOT, during the last 3 years there were 21 fatalities in work zone crashes.
ODOT’s work zone safety program is aimed primarily at reducing the number of fatal and serious injury traffic crashes that occur in all roadway and utility work zones in Oregon. This is achieved through a comprehensive program which includes engineering, education, enforcement and emergency medical services.
OSP troopers work closely with ODOT to address safety concerns in highway work zones on state highways and freeways. ODOT provides overtime grant funding to OSP to put troopers on overtime working in many work zones throughout the state. The following is a brief review of the overtime work OSP troopers have done during the last two years in work zones:
* 8,080 overtime hours worked in 48 work zones
* 9,819 vehicles stopped
* Issued 4,224 citations, including 1,995 speed-related violations, and warned drivers for 11,838 traffic-related violations (note: a traffic stop may result in a warning issued for more than one violation)
* Arrested 67 DUII drivers
* 11,076 overtime hours worked in 51 work zones
* 14,196 vehicles stopped
* Issued 6,728 citations, including 3,698 speed-related violations, and warned drivers for 12,959 traffic-related violations
* Arrested 54 DUII drivers
National studies show that driver inattention and distraction are major factors in work zone crashes. Excessive speed is the next biggest problem. Some other work zone facts provided by ODOT include:
* Over 40% of work zone crashes happen in the transition zone prior to the work area.
* Road construction is the most dangerous occupation in the United States.
* More drivers and their passengers than workers die each year in National and Oregon work zones.
* Work zone crashes tend to be more severe than other types of crashes.