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MDOT reminding drivers to slow down as construction season ramps up

Last year, 16 people lost their lives in work zone-related accidents across the state. It's a number MDOT wants to see go down.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) is reminding drivers to slow down in construction zones for National Work Zone Safety Awareness Week, an annual spring campaign to encourage safe driving.

You've probably already noticed more work zones and orange barrels just across West Michigan.

John Richard, a communications representative for MDOT’s Grand Region, says the biggest construction zone safety issue is driver behavior. Richard says speeding, tailgating and people driving intoxicated or distracted by their phones are bad habits.

Not only does this behavior put the driver at risk, but also the workers trying to improve our roads. 

The numbers are grim: About 25 people die every week in crashes just in Michigan. And last year, 16 people lost their lives in work zone-related accidents across the state.

“It's important for folks to check our website, you can check Google Maps for current congestion information, our Mi Drive site at michigan.gov/drive," Richard said. "That shows all current and upcoming traffic restrictions due to maintenance, due to construction. There are crash reports in there. There are cameras for live look in, so that that Mi Drive site is handy for motorists to know before they go.” 

A package of bills in the legislature right now would make it illegal to use your cell phone while driving altogether.

State Senator Mark Huizenga (R-Walker) has also reintroduced legislation to protect road workers by clarifying the legal definition of a "work zone".

You can show your support for work zone crews on Wednesday, April 19 by wearing orange. Share a picture to social media with #orange4safety. It’s a reminder that we all play a role in keeping everyone safe on the roads.

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