Safety should be the leading priority on any worksite, but it’s especially important in roadway and highway safety zones. Work zones present risks for both workers and those within the vehicles traveling adjacent to work zones. Additionally, those vehicles are out of the workers’ control, and oftentimes there is not much between a road worker and an oncoming vehicle. Unfortunately, work zone fatalities have been on the rise. Explore the increasing importance of safety in work zones as the summer season kicks off an increase in work zones on roadways.
Work Zone Fatalities Increase
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), state Departments of Transportation, and other organizations issued an entreaty in late April for drivers on U.S. highways and roadways to do their part to decrease work zone fatalities.
According to FHWA data, 842 people lost their lives in accidents in highway work zones in 2019, an 11.2 percent increase over the 757 deaths in 2018. The FHWA maintains that it’s the largest increase in work zone deaths since 2006.
The FHWA also maintained that four out of every five of those deaths were actually vehicle drivers or vehicle occupants, meaning that highway work zones are a danger for both those working in them and those in vehicles driving through highway work zones.
Causes of Work Zone Fatalities
The FHWA’s data points to distracted driving as the chief cause of most highway work zone accidents. Drivers who are not paying attention to the numerous signs, traffic cones, and safety barriers that announce work zones and lane closures are more likely to crash into other vehicles, highway equipment, and safety barriers.
Drivers should stay alert when driving, avoid distracted driving by ignoring text messages and phone calls (which is the law in many states and cities) while driving, and should slow down when approaching and going through highway and roadway work zones.
One life lost in a highway work zone is one too many, and we can all do our part to lower the number of fatalities in roadway and highway work zones.
At Tucker Paving, safety is always our leading priority! We have?over 25 years of experience?in the?asphalt and concrete paving industry, and we know the importance of safety in highway work zones. Contact us by calling?(863) 299-2262, or?fill out our?contact form?online, for help with your upcoming concrete or asphalt paving project!?