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Two days, two serious crashes on I-96: State Police discuss construction zone safety

Robinson suggests driving through a construction zone like you would on an icy road, using extra caution to drive slow and under control.

KENT COUNTY, Mich. — Two days, two serious crashes in a construction zone on I-96.

Now, Michigan State Police are warning drivers to keep their eyes on the road.

"Not paying attention, didn't realize that traffic was slowing down and ran into the back of a vehicle that was either moving slowly or stopped on the roadway," says Sgt. Michelle Robinson with the Michigan State Police.

That's how Sgt. Robinson says each of the two crashes occurred. And she says serious injuries could've been avoided.

The first crash happened Monday when a car crashed into the back of a semi, then got rear-ended on westbound I-96 east of M-6 in Cascade Township. Miraculously, only one person was minorly injured.

Credit: Michigan State Police West Michigan
The Chevy Malibu that crashed into a semi on westbound I-96 Monday.

The second crash was Tuesday around 10:30 a.m. when a mid-sized sedan ran into a semi that was stopped for construction backup. Three people were taken to hospitals with serious injuries. Their condition is unknown at this time. 

"You're dealing with human lives that can have serious injuries," says Robinson.

Construction zones generally reduce the width of the road, and lower the speed limit, causing traffic congestion. The Michigan Department of Transportation designs the traffic flow of construction zones in the safest ways possibly using research of the area.

However, that can only go so far.

"It's really the responsibility of the motorists to slow down in those construction zones, use caution in those construction zones," says Robinson.

She says one of the biggest keys is to keep your eyes on the road.

"You see people that are on their phones, they're reading books, there's so many distractions in a vehicle nowadays," she says.

And take your foot off the gas.

"It's not NASCAR out there," says Robinson.

Because if you don't, getting a ticket in a construction zone can come with a severe penalty.

"Depending on what court system that you're in, you're looking at fines that are probably going to be doubled in those construction zones if you get a citation," she says.

After the two crashes this week, the MSP says they don't plan to change any of the safety measures in the area, because there's only so much they can do outside of what drivers themselves can.

"Just seeing the risky driving and the rude behaviors that are out on the roadways nowadays," says Robinson. "It's sad, frankly."

Robinson suggests driving through a construction zone like you would on an icy road, using extra caution to drive slow and under control.

    

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