More than half of US highway construction firms experienced cars crashing into work zone in past year

Aerial view of expanding a two-lane road to a four-lane highway with heavy construction equipment such as cranes parked for the weekend before a small bridge is completed in Maryland USA Aerial view of expanding a two-lane road to a four-lane highway in Maryland, USA (Image: tamas via AdobeStock - stock.adobe.com)

More than half (55%) of companies working on highway construction upgrades experienced cars crashing into their work zone, according to new data.

The results came as part of a new highway work zone study conducted by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) and construction software company HCSS.

Some 28% of contractors participating in the survey experienced crashes that resulted in injury to construction workers. But more than twice as many firms—59% —reported experiencing a crash in which drivers or passengers were injured.

Work zone crashes are also twice as likely to result in fatalities to drivers or passengers as construction workers. Sadly, 8% of contractors in the survey reported that construction workers were killed in work zone crashes, while 16% of survey respondents reported drivers or passengers were killed in those crashes.

Ken Simonson, AGC’s chief economist noted that 97% of contractors reported that highway work zones are either as dangerous, or more dangerous, than they were a year ago.

He added that more than half of contractors want automatic ticketing for speeding in work zones, while 79% want a greater police presence and 65% want stricter enforcement.

The contractors’ association is calling on every state to prioritize education and enforcement to make work zones safer. The association wants every state to require new drivers to complete a work zone safety course, deploy more police to work zones, authorize speed cameras in those zones and set tougher penalties, like fines and points, for unsafe work zone driving.

“Nobody should die because our laws fail to penalize unsafe operations in work zones in the same way they punish drunk driving and stigmatize not using a seat belt,” Simonson said.

The association has released a new video featuring highway workers pleading with motorists to be more careful when passing through work zones.

The work zone safety study was based on a nationwide survey of highway construction firms the association conducted this April and May. Over 900 contractors completed the survey. Click here to view the survey results.

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