OSP urges driver awareness as construction season begins

Local News

PIQUA, Ohio(WDTN)-  Ohio’s unofficial flowers have sprung, setting their  roots deeps into Ohio highways. Orange barrels and cones seen the around the Miami Valley are a mark of the start to construction season.When the barrells come up it’s time for you to drop your speed.

“We’re going to be implementing strict enforcement in and around these areas to get people to slow down,” said Sergeant Vee Witcher of Ohio State Highway Patrol’s Piqua Post. 

Witcher said with changing speed limits through construction zones, drivers should keep close watch on posted signs. Ohio Department of Transportation and city crews will be increasingly visible on roadways. Because of that, troopers will be brought in for overtime to help protect workers. 

“It’s important that people pay attention and that we are visible out there with them to provide safety so they can complete their mission of fixing our roads,” said Witcher.

Troopers are still tasked with their normal jobs. That often means responding to emergencies on high speed interstates. Sergeant Witcher said troopers wear green reflective vest to make themselves visible but drivers can help them do their jobs too.

Witcher said drivers can help them by following the state’s Move Over law.

The state law requires drivers to move over to an adjacent lane when approaching any vehicle with flashing or rotating lights parked on the roadside. It says drivers should slow down if moving over isn’t possible due to traffic, weather conditions or the lack of a second lane.

The patrol says troopers wrote more than 6,000 citations in 2018 for violating that law, up 59% from 2017. Last year, there were more than 4,000 crashes in Ohio work zones and more than 150 ODOT crews were struck.

“That’s the intent of that law, is to protect our lives and protect the persons who we’re rendering assistance to,” Witcher said.

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