HIGHWAY WORK ZONE SAFETY NEEDS IMPROVEMENT
The New York Times reported today that there needs to be increased safety in highway work areas. Approximately 160 people are killed and 11,000 injured each year from unsafe conditions, just from pavement edge drop-offs alone. The steeper the drop off the more dangerous the condition becomes. “There are virtually no laws or regulations mandating safety measures, only loosely enforced standards that differ from state to state. As a result, there are few penalties levied against contractors when…guidelines are violated.” Highway work zones across the country that have killed at least 4,700 people — more than two a day — and injured 200,000 in the last five years alone. It was reported that there are almost no laws concerning that matter and that standards are loosely enforced. Although most of the time drivers are blamed, it was reported that studies show that work zone areas highly increase the number of accidents. Sometimes hundreds of accidents will occurr over the life of a project.
It was reported that “Yet while federal regulators carefully track the ways motorists cause accidents, they do not make the same attempt to determine when contractors and state highway planners are at fault, and as a result, work-zone crashes are often under-reported or inaccurately reported. That task is left mostly to the imperfect forum of civil courts, where cases are often settled in secret and where important revelations about unsafe construction practices remain unseen and unheeded.”