Highway construction sites can be chaotic places: Lanes of traffic are diverted, bright lights are flashing, and heavy machinery abound. In such a setting, drivers can become confused or impatient. And many drivers simply underestimate the dangerous nature of a construction site. These and other reasons are why so many highway construction accidents lead to fatalities, both for drivers and workers.
Highway Construction Accident Driver Deaths
According to Federal Highway Administrator Mary Peters, highway construction accidents are responsible for over 1,000 deaths every year. Many of those deaths are drivers. Furthermore, in a report by the Insurance Journal, as many as 1,181 fatalities and 52,000 injuries can occur on highway construction sites. How many of those fatalities are drivers compared to workers? About four out of every five.
The need here is for more attentiveness among drivers passing through highway construction zones. Because these zones are generally seen as an inconvenience, drivers often attempt to get through them as fast as possible. This sort of approach can often lead to accidents. Drivers must remember that any work zone has its hazards, and when passing drivers are added to the mix, the risk of death or injury is even higher.
Highway Construction Accident Worker Deaths
Working in construction in any way can have its inherent dangers. Forklift accidents, scaffolding accidents (including workers falling or being struck by falling objects) and especially highway accidents are among the most the common causes of construction worker fatalities. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) says two out of every five construction worker deaths are the result of highway construction accidents.
What Sort of Accidents Can Affect Highway Construction Workers?
One common form of highway construction accident occurs when a worker is struck by heavy equipment. Along with this, the largest factor in worker deaths is being hit by a vehicle passing through the work zone. While certainly an accident, the death of a worker by a passing driver is often an act of negligence.
There are some things workers in a construction zone can do to help prevent a highway construction accident. As a rule, construction workers should try to use all of these safety measures — and drivers should remember to watch for them.
Signs & Barriers. These traffic control devices should be used often and consistently. Signs should precede the work zone so that drivers are given plenty of time to adjust to changes in traffic flow. Concrete barriers help guide drivers through work zones, so they should be easy-to-follow. Poorly arranged barriers can often lead to driver confusion.
Traffic Flagger. Having people directing traffic greatly helps drivers to navigate a construction site. These flaggers must be trained and experienced. It is also important that the flaggers, in addition to remaining in full-view of traffic, are stationed at a safe distance from vehicles. Lastly, traffic flaggers should remain in contact with superiors in case of sudden changes.
Visible Clothing. Construction workers in a work zone should all wear vibrant and reflective vests and hats. Highway construction often happens at night, so remaining visible to drivers and other workers is vital to a worker’s safety.
If a loved one was killed in a wrongful death accident, due to a highway construction accident or otherwise, read this article which explains how you should file a wrongful death action in Pennsylvania.