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Michigan Department of Transportation concerned by increase in road and work zone fatalities

Increase in crashes and fatalities comes as MDOT reports decrease in traffic volumes

The increase in crashes and fatalities comes at a time when the department is reporting a 20 percent decrease in overall statewide traffic volumes due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The increase in crashes and fatalities comes at a time when the department is reporting a 20 percent decrease in overall statewide traffic volumes due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. (Copyright by WSLS - All rights reserved)

DETROIT – Michigan Department of Transportation officials say while there may be fewer motorists on the roads, the number of road and work zone fatalities are on the rise.

The increase in crashes and fatalities comes at a time when the department is reporting a 20 percent decrease in overall statewide traffic volumes due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

As of September, 730 people have died on Michigan roads. That’s an increase of 58 deaths compared to this time last year.

Most recently, vehicles struck three on-the-job road workers, killing two of them.

On Sept. 21, Zachery Morisette, a 26-year old Macomb County Department of Roads employee, was struck and killed while replacing a manhole cover on I-94 near 9 Mile Road in Macomb County.

On Sept. 24, Jeremy Zeitz, a 40-year-old road worker from Gladwin was struck and killed while working on Sherwood Highway over I-69 in Eaton County.

Read: Driver wanted in fatal hit-and-run of I-94 construction worker turns himself in, police say

Read more: State police find vehicle wanted in fatal hit-and-run of I-94 construction worker

“We are deeply saddened by these recent road worker fatalities. These workers had families and friends who loved and will miss them immensely,” said State Transportation Director Paul C. Ajegba. “As we begin our Rebuilding Michigan bonding program aimed at catching up with years of our state’s underinvestment in roads, you can expect a great deal of work on highways across the state. We implore you to slow down and drive through work zones as if it was your own workplace.”

MDOT understands that traveling through work zones can be frustrating. The department is working diligently to reduce the impacts that road work has on motorists while delivering smooth and safe roads. As a reminder, motorists should always slow down, follow all posted signs, be alert, and remain calm when driving through a work zone.

Learn more by clicking here.

Related: MDOT mourns lost road workers, reminds everyone about work zone safety