COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Three Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) crews have been hit by motorists in just one week.
ODOT said all of them could have been much worse and could have been avoided.
Now it is reminding people once again to watch out for crews in work zones.
All ODOT is asking is that when people see signs telling them about a work zone or see the flashing lights, they move over and slow down.
Even when drivers are not in a work zone, there are signs reminding you to move over for stopped vehicles with flashing lights.
Often, ODOT crews are working on the highway with cars buzzing by at high speeds.
“You’ve got those vehicles whizzing by you within, some cases, just a plastic barrel between you and that traffic, it can be hair raising,” ODOT spokesman Matt Bruning said.
Late last week, an ODOT crew was hit by a van on Route 33 in Hocking County.
Two workers were on the back of an ODOT pickup truck picking up cones from a work zone.
Investigators said they jumped off the back of the truck just before the van hit.
Both have been released from the hospital, but ODOT was hoping the crash would serve as a reminder to other drivers to give crews space.
“That was certainly a close call that could have been much much worse,” Bruning said. “All of these could have been much much worse.”
However, according to ODOT, just days later, on Wednesday, a flagger’s foot was run over at a work zone.
And on Friday, ODOT said there was another work zone accident where a pickup truck got sideswiped by a semi near Cincinnati.
“It is frustrating to us because we keep preaching the message of slow down, move over, pay attention to our crews, but still people don’t and that’s very frustrating to us,” said ODOT spokesman Matt Bruning.
According to ODOT, equipment, vehicles, or workers were hit 178 times in 2019. That’s down from 200 in 2018, but still, ODOT said just one is one too many.
Moving over for vehicles with flashing lights is the law in Ohio. According to ODOT’s website, drivers can be fined up to $300 for their first violation.