Greater Cincinnati road workers hope you'll drive safely as construction season ramps up

April 11 is National Go Orange Day for road safety
Posted at 5:07 PM, Apr 10, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-10 19:50:59-04

CINCINNATI -- If you spot workers in reflective vests along any busy highway, they'd like you to know something: Your driving behavior could be the difference between life and death for them, yourself and others.

Someone is injured in a work zone every 13 minutes in the United States, according to the Federal Highway Administration.

Wednesday is National Go Orange Day, when people are encouraged to wear orange in support of work zone safety. It's why the Florence water tower will be lit in orange, too.

While you might consider work zones a hassle, they're an untraditional office each day for many men and women in the construction industry.

Those workers also have to keep an eye on traffic, making sure drivers are cooperating and being patient.

"We have safety elements like continuators that are there to absorb any vehicle that may come barreling through, but unfortunately, they don't work all the time," said Brian Cunningham, district spokesman for the Ohio Department of Transportation.

It's also important to obey traffic flaggers -- and understand just how much orange barrels matter.

"That's the only protection between us and the traffic that's moving," said Jonathan Bradford, who works for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. "I just want to get home every night to my girls."

Last year, Ohio and Kentucky had more than 6,000 work zone crashes in both Kentucky and Ohio. At least 30 of those resulted in death to both road workers and drivers.

The top contributing factor is distraction, the Federal Highway Administration says.

"There's a enough distraction once you get in a work zone -- trucks entering and exiting, people along the work very close to traffic. So we need folks to do their part slow down or move over," Cunningham said.