Construction Group’s Campaign Reminds Drivers to Stay Alert in Work Zones
With the majority of highway contractors reporting that motor vehicle crashes pose a greater risk today than they did 10 years ago, the Associated General Contractors of America launched a national advertising campaign to remind summer drivers to be cautious.
This past weekend, AAA estimated that 34.6 million Americans took to the roads to reach their Memorial Day weekend destinations. Millions more will hit the highways to reach their summer vacation spots, but the Associated General Contractors of America wants to remind them to slow down and stay alert while driving through work zones.
“There is no meeting, email, or text that is more important than the safety of workers or motorists,” said AGC CEO Stephen E. Sandherr, in a press release. “It is absolutely essential for every driver to slow down, pay attention, and put the phone down while driving through highway work zones.”
To get that message out, AGC created a radio advertisement that will air through the end of this week in 18 U.S. cities that tend to have the highest levels of work-zone crashes.
“Too busy to slow down in work zones?” the radio ad asks. “Having to check your text messages? Daydreaming about your vacation? None of those are worth the nightmare of killing a construction worker.”
The message might seem harsh, but Brian Turmail, senior executive director of public affairs at AGC, said it needed to be.
“We are all guilty of doing these small things, but especially when you are driving through work zones, where there are sudden lane changes, new travel patterns, and often little more than an orange cone separating vehicles and workers, we wanted to make the point that a few seconds of distraction could lead to a life time of shame, regret and anguish,” said Turmail.
Results of a recent AGC study showed the need for such a safety initiative. Of the more than 700 highway contractors surveyed, 44 percent reported that motor vehicles had crashed into their construction work zones in the past year.
And those crashes affect drivers and passengers as well as construction workers. Survey results showed that 25 percent of crashes injure construction workers and 11 percent of those crashes kill them.
“Too many of our workers are getting killed in highway work zones, and we want to take every possible step to keep our people safe,” said Turmail.
Cellphone usage is big contributor to the increase of work-zone crashes, Turmail said. “The other thing we are seeing is that many DOTs are requiring contractors to do road work at night, to mitigate the impact on traffic. But this puts workers at greater risk of being struck by drowsy drivers, as well as drivers under the influence.”
AGC is currently considering running a second round of radio ads in the days approaching the July 4 holiday.
But no matter when the ads run, the goal is the same for AGC. “We would like to see fewer highway work zone crashes, and more of our workers making it home safely at the end of their shifts,” said Turmail.