As you are cruising down the highway, you probably often see highway crews working on the roads. Do you ever consider how incredibly dangerous these workers’ jobs really are?
They are working in lanes that are often adjacent to cars and trucks whizzing past them. Traffic is supposed to be slower in work zones. But we all have seen careless drivers who have little regard for the lives they endanger.
North Carolina highway deaths
Highway deaths remain a significant problem in North Carolina. Thirty-two highway workers lost their lives in work zone crashes in just one recent year. In the seven-year period from 2012 to 2018, 173 individuals died needlessly in construction zones in North Carolina.
In an attempt to reduce the number of work zone injuries and deaths in North Carolina, the state Department of Transportation (DOT) implemented a Work Zone Safety Program. The program helps by:
- Educating truckers and other professional drivers and offering them resources that include videos, frequently asked questions and driving tips
- Raising awareness of work zone safety with special campaigns and initiatives
- Researching safety data on wreck statistics and deaths
According to the Federal Highway Administration, nearly 775 highway workers die each year in collisions in work zones. The majority of deaths are caused by drivers in SUVs and pickup trucks. Other vehicles causing fatal accidents include:
- Dump trucks
- Highway construction machinery
The above numbers do not even begin to factor in the number of injuries suffered by highway workers in construction zones.
What you can do to help keep highway workers safe
All drivers have the duty to obey reduced speed limit signs in work zones. You can also help by keeping your mind on the task at hand — getting safely through the construction zone without allowing driving distractions. Avoid interacting with passengers, using your cellphone or GPS device and checking out the work that is taking place. Anything that takes your takes your eyes and mind off the road can be a danger for workers.