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Keeping Construction Workers Safe From Vehicle Crashes

Approximately 60% of construction firms that work on highways reported experiencing vehicles crashing into their work zones, according to new data collected from a survey from the Associated General Contractors of America and HCSS. Compare this to the same survey in 2017 where 44% reported motor vehicle crash incidents in their construction work zones. Despite ongoing efforts to curb dangerous driving actions, these behaviors are still rampant and are making the work of construction companies more dangerous and difficult than it already is.

Why These Crashes Occur

In tandem with this data, early motor vehicle crash estimates from NHTSA show that approximately 38,680 people died from crashes in 2020, which is the largest projected number of these fatalities since 2007. 2

One of the biggest contributors to these fatality types is speeding, which also happens to be the leading cause of vehicle crashes in highway construction zones.

“In many cases, vehicle speeding contributes to these crashes in work zones,” said Steve McGough, President and CFO of HCSS. “Utilizing speed cameras with a zero-tolerance policy would go a long way to protect the traveling public and our workforce.”

Safety Risks for Construction Companies

According to the CDC, between 2003-2017, 67% of work-related deaths in work zones occurred to the following occupations:
Construction laborers
Heavy and tractor-trailer drivers
Construction equipment operators
First-line supervisors of construction and extraction workers
Highway maintenance workers

The leading cause of highway construction worker injuries and fatalities is contact with construction vehicles, objects, and equipment, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration (2). Compounding this with increased risks from vehicle crashes at the worksites means that drivers – including fleet drivers who are driving past – should be mindful of how they behave in these areas.

“The men and women of the construction industry are frequently working just a few feet, and sometimes inches, away from speeding vehicles,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist and author of the annual survey. “Too often, drivers who are distracted, speeding and/or under-the-influence crash into those work zones, putting workers and themselves at risk of serious harm and death.”

Safety Risks for Drivers

The crashes at these construction sites tend to be of greater risk to those driving past them rather than those working the construction sites. However, that’s not to say construction workers aren’t also at risk.

Approximately 19% of contractors participating in the Associated General Contractors of America and HCSS survey experienced crashes that resulted in injury to construction workers. However, 35% reported experiencing a crash in which drivers or passengers were injured.

Additionally, drivers and passengers are three times as likely as construction workers to be killed in work zone crashes. The survey found 4% of contractors reported that construction workers were killed in work zone crashes, while 12% of survey respondents report drivers or passengers were killed in those crashes.

For fleet drivers to help do their part to reduce the dangers, they should focus primarily on making it to their next destination. Any other work distractions that may disrupt their driving – particularly via a smartphone -should be held off until they are safely parked.

“Better training and public policies will help, but the ultimate responsibility lies with motorists,” Simonson noted. “The best thing anyone can do to protect themselves and workers is to slow down, put the phone away, and pay attention when they are in a highway work zone.”

Ways to Reduce These Risks

Roughly 29,000 workers in the United States were killed in job-related vehicle crashes from 2003 to 2018, according to data from Safety Science, and vehicle crashes are the leading cause of workplace fatalities. 3

It’s unfortunate that occupations dealing https://gpstrackit.com/blog/dash-cams-can-save-your-fleet-from-truck-accident-fraud-litigation/in transportation are inherently risky simply because of the dangers that exist on the road. But, whether it’s the fleet driver on the road or the employee working near vehicles, proper safety etiquette regarding vehicles should be heavily discussed and implemented.

“Several practices were found to be statistically significantly related to collision/injury metrics, including mobile phone record checking, fatigue mitigation practices, provision of driver training, and collision response procedures,” according to the Safety Science report.

Are you ready to learn more? Talk to a Fleet Advisor today.

Using Technology to Keep Drivers Safe

The aforementioned practice of curbing excessive speeding of drivers is critical and, for fleets, introducing telematics and dash cam technologies to better monitor this should help ensure that your fleet is doing its part to guarantee the safety of all persons on the road.

For example, if a fleet manager is aware of certain highway construction sites that they want their drivers to avoid – whether that’s for preventive safety measures or simply to avoid traffic – they can utilize landmarks as reference points for internal mapping and guidance of drivers.

Dash cam solutions can also help monitor driver behavior if fleet managers want to more transparently witness how their drivers are behaving. Particularly if the technology has a 360-degree view of the road and driver, along with real-time in-cab audible alerts that can provide automated driver coaching.

If you’d like to learn more about how GPS Trackit can help to improve safety, increase productivity and reduce costs for your business, speak with one of our knowledgeable Fleet Advisors at 866-320-5810 or get a quick Custom Quote.

Sources Cited:
https://www.agc.org/news/2021/05/26/sixty-percent-firms-working-highway-upgrades-experienced-cars-crashing-their-work-0
https://www.nhtsa.gov/press-releases/2020-fatality-data-show-increased-traffic-fatalities-during-pandemic
https://ops.fhwa.dot.gov/wz/workersafety/index.htm
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0925753518320502?via%3Dihub#ab010

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