Can Drivers Do More to Protect Roadside Workers?

Steel WorkerLast month, an accident shut down an entire highway feeder road in Montgomery County, Texas. However, the accident was not an ordinary car crash. Rather, a car caused a work zone accident when the driver slammed into a man working on a sewer.

According to the police report, the sewer worker was behind his pump truck, clearing the lines when the car ignored the work zone cones set up and slammed into the victim, pinning him up against the pump truck. The worker’s brother, who was also on site, repeatedly slammed his own truck into the car in an effort to dislodge his brother, but was unable to free the worker. The worker died at the scene.

What Can Drivers and Workers Do to Stay Safe in Work Zones?

Both drivers and workers need to cooperate in order to reduce the risk for a work zone accident. On one hand, it is important for drivers to remember that in 2013, Texas passed traffic laws making it mandatory for drivers to slow down and move over in work zones. Drivers can also do the following to avoid a work zone accident and keep workers safe:

  • Put the phone down to avoid being tempted to engage in distracted driving
  • Leave plenty of room between you and the vehicles in front of you
  • Obey all road signs
  • Avoid driving through a work zone if you are tired
  • Do not under any circumstances speed through a work zone
  • Remain alert for more than just workers, as it is possible there is dangerous equipment on the road as well

On the other hand, city workers and roadside construction companies should honor their responsibility of setting up safe work zones before allowing employees to work within them by doing the following:

  • Using collapsible barriers, concrete, crash cushions or truck-mounted attenuators to protect workers
  • Making sure flaggers wear high-visibility clothing with reflective material and fluorescent backgrounds
  • Ensuring that flagger stations are properly illuminated
  • Making sure there is rollover protection onsite for equipment and vehicles
  • Ensuring that all personnel onsite have proper training

Roads and city amenities, such as sewer lines, will always require maintenance. As such, construction companies and the city need to work together with drivers to make sure workers are kept safe in roadside work zones.



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