Although road maintenance crews come to mind when thinking of orange directional signs and work zones, other workers perform job duties near the road as well, including utility and tree-trimming crews.
Streets and highways are lined with power poles and electrical equipment, and narrow roadways often require crews like ours to place their equipment in traffic lanes. Their work is often taken for granted but benefits us all; and, like everyone, they deserve a safe workplace. Be alert to utility crews and other work zone workers for their safety as well as yours.
According to the National Work Zone Safety Information Clearinghouse, 762 fatal crashes and 842 deaths occurred in work zones crashes in 2019: up from 672 fatal crashes and 755 deaths in 2018. Of those fatalities, 135 were workers. An estimated 115,000 work zone crashes occurred in 2019, resulting in 39,000 people injured.
To help keep roadside crews safe:
- Keep a safe distance between your vehicle and traffic barriers, trucks, construction equipment, and workers.
- Be patient. Traffic delays are sometimes unavoidable, so allow time for unexpected setbacks in your schedule.
- Obey all signs and road crew flag instructions.
- Merge early and be courteous to other drivers.
- Use your headlights at dusk and during inclement weather.
- Minimize distractions. Avoid activities such as operating a radio, applying makeup and eating while driving.
Don’t make the jobs of road workers, utility crews, tree trimmers and others who work near traffic more dangerous. Slow down when approaching a work zone and move over for first responders and work crews on the side of the road.