Road and work zone fatalities on the rise

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Michigan Department of Transportation

Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) 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 Monday, 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 Thursday, 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.

“We are deeply saddened by these recent road worker fatalities. These workers had families and friends who loved and will miss them immensely,” State Transportation Director Paul C. Ajegba said. “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.

MDOT is dedicated to zero deaths on our roads and protecting all workers who build and maintain Michigan’s infrastructure.