Ohio and Ky. shine a light on National Work Zone Awareness Week

Ohio and Ky. shine a light on National Work Zone Awareness Week
Published: Apr. 26, 2021 at 5:08 PM EDT
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ASHLAND, Ky (WSAZ) - For roadside maintenance crews like Don Taulbee, it doesn’t matter how much experience you have when working inches away from drivers.

“I’ve seen barrels hit out of the way. I’ve been three feet away from a car jumping a curb and hitting a pole,” Taulbee said.

Taulbee has been doing highway work for 25 years and he says distracted drivers add risk.

In efforts to keep drivers and workers safe, the Ohio Department of Transportation and Kentucky Transportation Cabinet are promoting National Work Zone Awareness Week.

In 2020 alone, Ohio work zones have had 4,540 crashes-- killing 19 people.

Kentucky reports 905 work zone crashes for 2020-- killing six.

Linda Cook’s husband was killed in 2017 by a drunk distracted driver while working along Interstate 70.

“Steve got killed. He got hit between 68 and 70 miles an hour,” Cook said.

It left a family in turmoil, with Taulbee knowing this is the unfortunate reality of the job.

“We know when we come out here that we’re basically a foot away from not coming home,” Taulbee said.

According to ODOT, last year 7,378 citations were handed out in work zones around the state, with 49% of those citations being for going 20 miles over the speed limit.

ODOT also says following another vehicle too closely is by far the top factor in work zone crashes.

This initiative will run until Friday, April 30.

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