Thursday, June 23, 2016

Another work-zone crash highlights need to slow down, focus

By Mike Allende

Road crews on Interstate 5 had a bad scare Wednesday night, June 22 in a scene that's becoming all too common in our work zones.

A contractor crew was setting up traffic control devices on a paving project north of Stanwood. At 8:40 p.m., a pickup slammed into a truck mounted attenuator on the project. The crew escaped major injury, but workers were so shaken by the crash – and driver injuries – that work was cancelled for the night.

Thankfully our attenuator truck did its job during a Wednesday work-zone crash, protecting the road crew from serious injury.

The crash also blocked all of northbound I-5 for about one hour and caused a significant backup headed into Mt. Vernon.

Thankfully the TMA – a giant, accordion-like buffer between work crews and drivers -- did its job and shielded the workers. But even with this safety device two people were sent to the hospital: the attenuator driver and the pickup driver, who was transported by emergency helicopter. Please join us in keeping both drivers in your thoughts.

The driver of this vehicle ran into our attenuator truck in a work zone Wednesday night. In 96 percent of Washington
work zone crashes, the driver, passenger or nearby pedestrians are injured rather than workers.

We wish this was a rare occurrence, but the danger in our work zones is very real. We average 916 work zone injuries a year on state roads. In 2015, nine people died in Washington work zone crashes. And most often, it isn't the workers who are at the most risk. The fact is, 96 percent of people hurt in work zone crashes in our state are drivers, their passengers or passing pedestrians.

It's vital for drivers to slow down and be focused on the road at all times -- for the safety of highway workers but also for themselves and their fellow travelers.

The driver of the vehicle involved in Wednesday’s work zone collision had to be airlifted to the hospital with serious injuries.

In this case, our attenuator truck did its job, taking the hit so that our workers didn't. But it doesn't always work out that way, as Greg King's story told us. So please, for your sake and those of highway workers, slow down and always be cautious and focused around work zones. We need your help to keep everyone in our work zones safe.

5 comments:

Dr. L. said...

I am a psychologist who once treated a young man who was injured as a DOT worker in a construction zone south of Olympia from a driver who refused to slow down. He was left with debilitating back injuries and, thus, depression. He could no longer support his young family. By the time the case came to court she was already incarcerated in Oregon for a driving fatality. He never had his day in court. So, yes, please slow down.

Matt Johnson said...

I see way too many people talking or even worse texting and driving. Noticed the person in front of me texting, so I started flashing my lights to see if he would notice, after what seemed like more than 5 minutes of flashing I gave up. He never saw me. Can't believe WSP doesn't do more enforcement for cell phones.

Escape Pod said...

I was on I-90 EB in North Bend last Monday evening as DOT workers were just beginning to close the left lanes. Two large trucks with the "move right" lights were on the left shoulder and in the left-most lane. Drivers were slowing down and moving to the right as traffic permitted, but one of the DOT trucks pulled into a still-open lane directly into the path of an oncoming car, with no warning. The car's driver was able to slam on his brakes and avoid an accident, and those of us approaching the scene were able to avoid the mess fortunately, but in this case, it was the DOT worker clearly not focusing. Let's ALL pay attention to keep EVERYONE on the road safe.

port566 said...

I've seen worse than texting and driving: I've seen someone reading a book while driving! I think even audio books are dangerous; mystery novels and educational books require too much brainpower.

safeflow said...

I think it would be wise to have the construction crew set up more "ahead of time" reminders - physical reminders that are WAY ahead of time. On SR 522 leading from Bothell to Monroe, i have Seen the contraction crew in charge, operate in a very dangerous fashion. I've seen them run across the road at the worst time trying to put out the pylons with no seemingly safe plan to do it. The flaggers that are out there today - a lot of them - do not do their job. They do not enforce the rule of slowing down. They just stand there and let people go through. they are trained - at least I was a few years ago - to get out there and slow people down. They are trained to do this. I don't see it. The are pacified. They don't do their job effectively. Maybe we need more bodies ahead of time - in trucks or on foot, with more LARGE signs to wake people up EARLY - as opposed to at the last minute.