Checking in with road crews about their safety during National Work Zone Awareness Week

Posted at 6:31 AM, Apr 17, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-17 06:31:59-04

This week is an important one for those who help create and fix our roads. It's National Work Zone Awareness Week.

Last year in Michigan, there were over 7,000 work zone crashes. Of those, there were 1,800 injuries, and 108 of those injuries were serious.

There were also 20 deaths – two of whom were road workers.

I spoke to a crew with the Road Commission of Oakland County to get a better idea of what they are seeing on the roads.

The two forepersons I talked to in Oakland County oversee crews in the field to make sure they are safe, so they have seen some of the dangers in this line of work.

“The speed, the distracted driving. We may not go home at night," John Boman said.

“It’s upsetting because we don’t want to see anyone hurt," Lynette Evans added.

Unfortunately for Evans and Bowman, they have seen those upsetting crashes over the years.

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“Have you had any close calls that you can think of in your career?” I asked.

“Well we did have an accident a distracted driver hit someone on the lodge before, you know just ran into the back of us," Evans said.

“We have cars driving right through the freshly poured concrete, as we have guys finishing it," Bowman said.

They say there are two big issues among drivers contributing to work zone crashes.

“Work Zone speed and distracted driving is the two main reasons why those accidents happen. It may not be fatalities, but somebodies life can be changed for the worse because of that accident," they said.

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They showed me one way to keep crews safe while out on the roads. One of those things is an attenuator.

“If there was a crash, it would take the brunt of the crash from behind it," they said. They have four in the garage.

While these help, they still need the public's help to keep everyone safe to make it home to their families.

“Do your families ever worry about you guys?” I asked.

“All the time," they said.

About a year ago, legislation was re-introduced in Michigan to get cameras in work zones.

I checked with the House Chair of the Transportation Committee. He said it was reported out of the Senate committee a couple of weeks ago and is now being negotiated on the floor.