By ASHLEY WEIGEL
Capital News Service
LANSING — Serious injuries from Michigan road construction crashes are on the rise although the actual number of crashes, deaths and all injuries has dipped. The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) recently tallied 2013 construction zone accidents:
107 serious injuries, up from 57 the year before
4,080 crashes, down from 4,592 in 2012
10 deaths, down from 15 in 2012
1,112 total injuries, down from 1,181 in 2012
A work zone is defined by the Michigan Vehicle Code as a portion of a street or highway that is between a “work zone begins” sign and an “end road work” sign. The data has not been analyzed yet, but there is some speculation that the lower number of crashes points to the intelligent traffic systems set up by MDOT, said Angie Kremer, traffic incident management engineer for the department. These systems consist of electronic signs along the expressway that update drivers about construction conditions, giving them more time to prepare for stopped or slowed traffic, Kremer said. In 2012, there were 609 total deaths in work zone crashes in the U.S. Michigan’s 15 deaths ranked at about the average.