The Associated General Contractors of America’s survey of construction workers in the United States revealed that 46 percent of workers had witnessed a crash at roadside construction zones in the last year. The survey compiles the responses of more than 800 professionals in the industry.
Safety Implications of Roadside Construction Crashes
Construction workers who participate in roadside projects put themselves in significant peril, whether they are drilling through concrete, painting lines on asphalt, or repairing water or power infrastructure. Although crashes do not always result in human injury, they present a serious danger for human workers.
Additionally, motorists who find themselves in these crashes can also suffer injuries. Sometimes accidents involve more than one car, which can increase the likelihood of injuries or even deaths.
Economic Implications of Roadside Crashes
When a motorist crashes into a construction site on the side of the road, the project is set back by hours, days, or even weeks. Workers must redo the work they have already completed, repair equipment, and wait for emergency vehicles and other authorities to clear the scene.
Range of Survey Results
Across the board, 46 percent of the ACG of America survey’s respondents saw roadside crashes at construction sites. However, the organization also released statistics specific to 11 U.S. states. These results prove just as illuminating.
For example, in Texas, 65 percent of construction workers witnessed motor vehicle accidents at their work sites in the previous 12 months. Even more startling, in the national survey, 9 percent of respondents reported deaths as a result of those crashes.
Eliminating Car Crashes at Road Construction Sites
Construction workers must exercise caution when conducting road work and directing traffic. For example, the National Work Zone Safety Information Clearinghouse recommends six protocols for flagging procedures.
Other aspects that construction workers and foremen must consider include work zone training, traffic congestion evaluation, hours and duration of roadside work, and more.
The responsibility of prevention also lies with motorists. Distracted driving plays a part in all motor vehicle accidents, but this might be especially true when it comes to road construction because construction sites represent a change in a driver’s typical route.
For instance, according to the Legal Examiner, the chances of a car crash increase by 400 percent when a driver uses his or her cell phone behind the wheel. Other factors, such as alcohol and exhaustion, also increase the likelihood of an accident.
Creating Tougher Punishments for Moving Violations
The ACG of America’s survey revealed that nearly 70 percent of construction workers support greater fines and other punishments for moving violations that occur inside construction zones. This preventative measure would deter motorists from speeding, changing lanes abruptly, using their cell phones, and engaging in other dangerous behavior.
However, it is also important for construction workers to receive proper training on work site safety. If workers move into the flow of traffic or otherwise place themselves in peril, they put others’ lives at risk, as well.
The alarming frequency of car crashes involving road construction indicates a need for change and attention. The ACG of America continues to work on behalf of motorists and construction workers to keep everyone safe on the road.