Sixty-seven percent of highway contractors report that motor vehicles had crashed into their construction work zones during the past year, according to the results of a new highway work zone study conducted by the Associated General Contractors of America.
In response, association officials have launched a new radio and media campaign urging drivers to slow down and remain alert in highway work zones.
Brian Turmail, the association's national spokesman, said in a statement that 70% of contractors reported work zone crashes on their projects in which motor vehicle operators or passengers were injured. In addition, 28% of those crashes involved a driver or passenger fatality. Highway work zone crashes also pose a significant risk for construction workers, Turmail noted. He said that 28% of work zone crashes injure workers and 8% of those crashes kill them.
In response, the construction association announced the launch of the new safety education campaign. Association officials noted that 73% of contractors report that the risk of highway work zone crashes is greater now than it was a decade ago. Turmail noted the increased risk was "unacceptable."
Association officials are launching the nationwide outreach campaign to try to improve highway work zone safety for workers and motorists alike. As part of the new effort, association officials will be talking to radio stations around the country about what drivers should do while passing through construction sites. The association will also use social media to urge drivers to be more careful and alert in highway work zones.
The association is also working with construction equipment and technology firms to develop systems to better alert workers when vehicles come too close to job sites. And the association's chapters will continue to work with local and state police and state departments of transportation to ensure adequate highway work zone protections are in place.
The work zone safety study was based on a nationwide survey of highway construction firms the association conducted in April and May. Nearly 400 contractors completed the survey.