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Rise In DOT Work Zone Injuries Triggers New Safety Campaign

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The New York State Department of Transportation (DOT) reported 660 crashes in construction work zone in 2017, including 10 fatalities and 160 injuries.

Many of those crashes are caused by distracted driving. It's one reason the state launched a new campaign Wednesday that focuses on the importance of driving safely in work zones and the dangers of distracted driving.

So far, 21 crashes have been caused by distracted driving crashes in work zones during this construction season, according to the state 

The DOT is also seeing an "alarming" number of driver-initiated confrontations against DOT workers.

During a news conference to promote the safety initiative, DOT flagger Lashaun Todman recalled an incident when an upset driver got out of his vehicle and grabbed her "Stop Slow" paddle.

"He said if this is something you want back come to my house and get it. It's scary because you never know what the motorist is going to do you don't know if you're going to get hurt or hit, you're hoping the only thing that happens is you get cursed at."

The state released two PSA's to encourage New Yorkers to follow directions given by workers such as Todman.