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Will lowering the speed limit prevent Ohio construction zone deaths?

Posted on Aug 10, 2010

After the recent deaths of two highway construction workers, the Ohio Department of Transportation is considering reducing speed limits in temporary night construction zones.
Right before midnight on July 27, forty-one-year-old Randy Roginski of North Royalton was testing pavement on the right berm of Interstate 271 south near the Interstate 77 exit in Richfield Township. The left lane was closed for paving; traffic was in the right lane.
A few weeks earlier, Eric Kirkbride, 25, of Zanesville was struck by an SUV and killed. He was working behind orange cones on Interstate 70 west near Ohio 33 in Columbus. The driver did not stop.
In both cases, there were reflective orange barrels, flashing signs, orange signs and over head lights at the scene. It is hard to believe the drivers did not realize they were in a construction zone.
Speed limits are set by state law. ODOT lowers speed limits in permanent work zones, but speed limits remain unchanged in temporary work zones. Requiring vehicles to slow down may reduce accidents. However, because there is less traffic at night, drivers tend to speed - even in construction zones.
It is not known if speed was a factor in last month’s accidents.
In 2009, there were 5,012 crashes in Ohio work zones and 13 drivers and passengers died. Most work zone crashes are caused by speeding, vehicles following too closely and drivers changing lanes.
The Chester Law Group offers these tips for safe driving in work zones.

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