Michigan’s Department of Transportation (MDOT) kicked off their seventeenth annual National Work Zone Awareness Week in April 2017 with the theme “Work Zone Safety is in Your Hands.” Their hope is to make drivers more careful when driving through construction and work zones as work zone injuries have jumped over the past year.
There were 75 serious work zone injuries in 2016, up nearly 9 percent since 2015. Those serious injuries came from the 4,908 total work zone crashes in 2016, compared to the 4,776 crashes from 2015.
“It’s up to drivers . . . to make sure they do their due diligence when they are behind the wheel,” Mark Van Port Fleet, chief operations officer with MDOT, told MLive. “MDOT’s goal is to eliminate all work zone injuries of any kind.”
Rear-endings cause the majority of work zone crashes, according to Chris McIntire, commander of Michigan State Police’s Rockford post. He said staying alert and resisting distracted driving can help drivers and workers stay safe.
MDOT workers like Bob Kamps know the importance of work zone safety firsthand. Kamps and his co-worker were struck by a car while doing nighttime road patching in 2011, injuring both of them severely. Kamps suffered a traumatic brain injury. His wife, Cyndi Kamps, spoke at MDOT’s kickoff event this year for Work Zone Awareness Week.
“We can’t undo what happened to Bob, but we can certainly do our best to make sure it doesn’t happen to anyone else,” Kamps said, as reported by MLive.