This past weekend my brother went down to Cleveland for his college orientation, which was a little weird. When he got back I asked him how it went. I got a shoulder shrug. Did you meet any friends? Another unenthusiastic shrug that was clearly a, “How many more questions are you gonna ask?” shrug. I asked him if he hit any traffic. He looked at me for a second then said, “Of insert expletive here course!” I laughed. Why? Because after almost 10 years of driving from Buffalo through Cleveland and across the state of Ohio to Indiana and Illinois for soccer tournaments we both know that no matter what, at this one interchange as you approach The Rock and Roll Capital of the World, you’re going to hit some traffic and some highway construction. After a few hours in the car hitting those orange construction signs that indicate that you have to drop your speed down to 45 or 55 is about as deflating as a balloon in a forest of needles. As annoying as those speed zones can be you understand that their presence there is necessary and you respect that. Still, there are some that ignore those road signs and maintain their speed thereby increasing the chances of something going wrong.
The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) have just concluded a study on highway work zone safety that a whopping 45 percent of highway contractors had a motor vehicle crash into their work zone. That’s almost half! While I’m sure you could have done that math yourself that’s still an obscene amount of workplace accidents, especially if your loved one or someone you know is working in that environment. Although, according to the AGC those vehicle operators and passengers that crashed into a highway work zone had a higher mortality rate than the construction workers in that work zone.
“There is little margin for error when you work within a few inches of thousands of fast-moving vehicles,” said Tom Case, the chair of the association’s national highway and transportation division and senior vice president of Watsonville, Calif.-based Granite Construction. “As the data makes clear, not enough drivers are slowing down and staying alert near work sites.”
So if you’re driving please slow down and stay alert when you enter a work zone and, if you’re a highway contractor, thank you for keeping our roadways clean and smooth. Stay safe!