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Alabama Work Zone Crashes Higher Than National Average

Thu July 11, 2019 - Southeast Edition #15
Joe Trinacria – CEG Associate Editor


Of the Alabama contractors who responded to the Association General Contractors of America’s survey, 45 percent reported that five or more car crashes occurred in work zones where their firm operates over the past year.
Of the Alabama contractors who responded to the Association General Contractors of America’s survey, 45 percent reported that five or more car crashes occurred in work zones where their firm operates over the past year.
Of the Alabama contractors who responded to the Association General Contractors of America’s survey, 45 percent reported that five or more car crashes occurred in work zones where their firm operates over the past year. Although the majority of responders reported that accidents did not result in any project delays, 25 percent of contractors stated that motor vehicle crashes on job sites held up work by five or more days. According to the AGC study, most Alabama contractors feel that the risks posed by highway work zone crashes are greater today than they were a decade ago.

According to the findings of the Associated General Contractors of America's recently published study on highway work zones nationwide, road crews in the state of Alabama have experienced five percent more vehicle crashes on job sites than the national average. Seventy-three percent of Alabama highway contractors reported to AGC that car accidents had occurred in their construction zones over the past year, while that figure was 67 percent for the entire country.

In response, AGC officials have launched a new radio and media campaign urging drivers to slow down and remain alert in highway work zones.

"There are simply too many cars crashing into too many work zones, putting too many lives at risk," said AGC spokesman Brian Turmail. "That is why we are launching a nationwide outreach effort designed to better educate motorists about the need to drive with care in highway work zones."

Of all the work zone crashes that were reported in Alabama during 2018, motor vehicle drivers and/or passengers were injured 87 percent of the time. Even more concerning is the fact that 63 percent of Alabama's job site crashes resulted in the death of either a driver or passenger. The national average for fatalities was only 28 percent. According to Turmail, the number of fatal crashes in Alabama construction zones jumped from 21 in 2014 to 25 in 2017, the most recent year that data was available.

Considering that many of these accidents involve cars entering work zones at a high rate of speed, there is a serious risk posed to construction professionals every day while on the job. In Alabama, 37 percent of work zone crashes injure innocent workers, and eight percent of those crashes kill them, the AGC study states.

"When you see construction signs and orange barrels, obey the posted speed limit, keep your eyes on the road and get off the phone," Turmail said. "No amount of saved time, and certainly no social media post or text, is worth the safety of you, your passengers or the men and women working on our roads."

The work zone safety study was based on a nationwide survey of highway construction firms that AGC conducted this past April and May. Nearly 400 contractors completed the survey. In addition to its outreach efforts on social media and traditional news sources, AGC officials are also working with construction equipment and technology firms to develop systems to better alert workers when vehicles come too close to job sites. CEG