A new survey by HCSS Software Solutions and Associated General Contractors found that vehicle crashes continue to pose a threat to highway construction workers, as work zones likewise pose a threat to vehicle drivers and passengers. The survey found specifically that a whopping 64% of highway contractors “report that motor vehicles had crashed into their construction work zones during the past year,” a massive danger to both parties—though the data suggests the risk is greater for drivers and passengers than for workers.
The survey polled a total of 538 respondents on a number of questions. Its results include findings that 18% of contractors experienced vehicle crashes in which at least one worker sustained injuries, while 41% of contractors experienced vehicle crashes that resulted in injuries to vehicle occupants. And while only seven percent reported vehicle crashes in which construction workers lost their lives, 15% reported on vehicle crashes in which vehicle occupants lost their lives.
The risk of highway work zone crashes is in the rise, according to the survey’s respondents, 58% of whom said that the risk of incidents is greater than it was one year ago. Respondents attributed the increasing risk to various factors, including traffic (62%), mobile phone usage (81%), and speeding (71%). Asked about measures that could help reduce crashes, they pointed to increase law enforcement presence at work zones (81%), automatic ticketing for speeding in work zones (55%), stricter laws and penalties for moving violations in work zones (47%), stricter enforcement of existing laws (67%), and closing roads (61%).
In a statement about the survey, its author, Ken Simonson, said, “The men and women of the construction industry are frequently working just a few feet, and sometimes inches, away from speeding vehicles. Drivers who are too often distracted, speeding and/or under-the-influence crash into those work zones, putting workers and themselves at risk of serious harm and death.” He urged motorists to exercise caution on the road this summer, especially as they drive through work sites.
Steve McCough, President and CEO of HCSS, said in another statement: “In many cases, vehicle speeding contributes to these crashes in work zones. Utilizing speed cameras with a zero-tolerance policy would go a long way to protect the traveling public and our workforce.”
More information on the AGC and HCSS Annual Work Zone Awareness Survey is available here.