Slow down: More than 300 crashes reported in work zones so far this year

Halfway through the summer, we are in the thick of road construction season, and more people are starting to hit the road again. But, construction workers say some of those people are putting their lives at risk by ignoring speed limits in work zones.

So far in 2021, the state has seen more than 1,236 crashes, killing six people and injuring 364 people in work zones.

Reed Leidle is vice president of Safety Signs, a company responsible for many of the cones, barricades and signs seen on the road.

"It feels like people are distracted as they have ever been and speeding as much, if not more than they’ve ever been," Leidle said. "If you can imagine sitting at your desk or your place of work and a car goes by at 70 miles an hour, you feel the wind rush by."

MnDOT’s records show the number of crashes and injuries this year are up from a year ago, but so far, they are fairly consistent with those before the pandemic.

"So far this year we've seen upwards of 300 crashes with an injury in work zones," Leidle said. "There’s nothing worth putting someone else’s life at risk, because every worker is someone’s mom or dad. Behind the cones, on the other side of the cones, are the men and women doing the work, and they’re only a few feet from traffic that’s going 65-70 miles an hour."

And there’s been an increase in crashes where speeding was a factor.

"We are seeing speeds up across the board this year," said Michelle Moser with MnDOT. "About one in five of the serious crashes that change a person’s life are attributed to speeding."

Now workers have a reminder for the people driving past: "Keep your hands on the wheel, your eyes on the road, and go the speed limit," Leidle said.

Officials also want to remind drivers that there are more than 200 road projects going on around the state this summer, so you may need to give yourself some more time to get where you’re going.