LAWRENCE COUNTY, OH (WOWK) — In the first week of June 2020, five Ohio Department of Transportation crews across the state have been struck in the line of duty, bringing the total number of workers and equipment involved in crashes to 16 in 2020.
In 2019, 178 crews were struck. It’s something ODOT officials are calling completely unacceptable.
In one of the recent incidents, a semi-truck hit the arrow board of an ODOT vehicle so hard that the board ended up lodged underneath the semi-truck, and left the ODOT vehicle smashed in the grass.
The worker was transported to a hospital in Columbus, but has since been released.
ODOT officials say 100% of these crashes are 100% preventable, especially when crews are always wearing reflective vests, reflective hard hats, and other reflective clothing.
Matt Bruning, ODOT’s Press Secretary, says there are also close calls every single day in Ohio, adding you cannot find an ODOT worker that hasn’t experienced a close call.
“If you can’t move over a lane, and you can’t move over for our people, at the very least slow down. It makes a huge difference,” said Bruning. “Those little moves, they might be an inconvenience to you, but they could literally safe the lives of the people who are working out there.”
Bruning says these crashes also cost tax payers money: from police who have to take crash reports, to workers who have to put their duties on hold until equipment can be replaced.
To date, 162 ODOT employees have been killed in the line of duty.
Bruning says no matter where you’re going or what road you’re driving on, always remember to look out for crews, slow down, and move over.