New ODOT Technology Aimed At Reducing Construction Zone Deaths

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The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) recently demonstrated a new piece of technology aimed at reducing the number of crashes in construction zones.

ODOT unveiled the new equipment, known as variable speed limit trailers, as part of its observance of National Work Zone Safety Awareness Week.

According to an ODOT press release, the variable speed limit trailers are portable pieces of equipment that "come with technology that can be programmed to display a safer, slower speed, but only on the stretches of roadway where construction workers are present."

Construction zone crash deaths are a growing concern after a report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration showed that the number of deaths in Ohio highway construction zones doubled from eight deaths in 2009 to 16 in 2011. 

There are 10 construction projects in the state this year that will utilize this new technology, including the resurfacing of U.S. Routes 33 and 32/50 in Athens County. 

ODOT reported that the top three causes of death in fatal work zone crashes are following too closely, failure to control and improper lane changes.

"ODOT tries to do all we can to ensure families and construction workers are safe on Ohio's highways. Motorists can do their part too, by slowing down, driving the posted speed limit, staying alert and avoiding distractions – especially cell phone distractions," ODOT Director Jerry Wray said in a press release. 

An ODOT analysis revealed that motorists are more likely to be injured or killed in construction zones on dry, sunny August afternoons than during any other time of year.