One of the most dangerous parts of any drive — for both motorists and for construction workers — are highway work zones. Unfortunately, the dangers posed by construction zones do not receive a lot of publicity. Maybe that is changing. Yesterday’s New York Times contained a feature article: Efforts Lag at Making Highway Work Zones Safer. Some early take-aways from the article:
1. Work zone wrecks are a huge problem in Texas. Many of the example accidents that the article discussed occurred here.
2. Work zone dangers come in any number of forms. Some of the more popular problems that people need to look for are improper pavement drop-offs, barricades set up the wrong way, improper traffic stops, parking construction vehicles too close to the roadway, improper marking of construction.
3. There is no nationwide standard for work zone safety, and most regulations are left to the states. This poses a problem. For example, the article mentions that in one state, pavement drop-offs need to be addressed when the drop-off is three inches or more while in another state, the drop-offs only need to be address if more than five feet.
4. The problem is only going to get worse. As a result of the Obama Administration’s stimulus plan, billions of dollars are being pumped into roadway construction projects.
I’m convinced that this is such a problem that I’m going to devote a few posts to it over the next week or so. In the meantime, I’d love to hear comments or suggestions from any of you that have experienced close calls in construction zones.
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