“Dim the lights,” says the Camera Man or Stage Hand, however, this sentiment has never been echoed by a road construction crew. Road construction zones are inherently full of perils: hefty machines apply their trade while spewing exhaust, dense items fall from above and motorists pay little mind to the busy crew members. Yet, a shift towards applying their trade at night has worsened a dangerous situation.
Most often, road construction work is conducted after dark. This shift to nocturnal work was implemented to ease traffic congestion along work zones, although this tactic may ease congestion, it’s creating a death toll.
No survey was conducted in regards to the feelings of road crews. Certainly, they would prefer to be diurnal animals. It’s true: during the day the Sun pours down like molten steel, but sunscreen is easily enough applied. The Problem, The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) calls unwise and deadly, is that construction crews become invisible in the dark, even while wearing High Visibility Personal Protection Equipment (HV-PPE).
Organizations, such as the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) and The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have implemented uniformity in the placement of reflective road warning signs and donning reflective garb. However, this places no ease on the death toll. Statistically, there is a road construction zone accident every 5.4 minutes, in spite of properly warn reflective clothing.
For every tool there is a trade, excuse the spoonerism. And HV-PPE are one of the most important tools of road construction. Road crews, not just Flaggers, must don this less than attractive garb, however, haphazard or intoxicated motorists pay little attention to the luminescent man along the highway, and as aforementioned, the death toll marches onward.
Many, including organization who make occupational safety their business, suggest that motorists bare with congestion to save lives. Moreover, it’s just as likely for road construction zone accident to be fatal for the driver as the crew member. We, as motorists, can’t change the time at which road construction work is conducted, but we can heed warning signs and drive cautiously, it saves lives!