The results of a new highway work zone study conducted by the Associated General Contractors of America have just been released and 45 percent of highway contractors had motor vehicles crash into their construction work zones during the past year. The report shows that vehicle crashes are up from the same study conducted in 2013 by 7 percent.
Workers are at great risk, however Association officials added that the survey showed these crashes are more likely to kill the vehicle drivers or passengers. 43 percent of the wrecks resulted in injury to the operator of the vehicle or their passengers with 16 percent killed in those crashes.
With an average of 600 fatalities and 32,000 injuries occuring nationwide from motor vehicle work zone crashes each year, drivers are in too much of a hurry to live.
While crashes are less likely to kill those wearing hard hats, more than 20 percent of work zone crashes do injure construction workers with 6 percent of those accidents resulting in fatalities. The study showed that 85 percent of contractors believe increased police efforts would help curb the number of work zone crashes and 67 percent believe tougher laws and fines would curb the crash statistics.
“There is little margin for error when you work within a few inches of thousands of fast-moving vehicles,” said Tom Case, Chair of the Association’s National Highway and Transportation Division and Senior Vice President of Granite Construction, in response to the survey findings. “As the data makes clear, not enough drivers are slowing down and staying alert near work sites.”
With 78 percent of contractors feeling this is a greater issue than it was 10 years ago, what is the Department of Transportation doing to curtail these rising numbers? “Work Zone Speeding: A Costly Mistake” was the recent message sent out by transportation agencies across the country April 7-11 during National Work Zone Awareness Week. This marked the 15th Anniversary of this life saving safety campaign. DOT is also currently working on state legislation to address the greater penalties for drivers who are at fault in work zone vehicle crashes to act as a deterrent.
The work zone safety study was based on a nationwide survey of highway construction firms conducted by the association in March this year. More than 400 contractors completed the survey.
Want to read more results from this survey? Click Here