FMCSA Chief Calls Out Truckers For ‘Absolutely Preventable’ Rise in Fatal Work Zone Crashes
Washington D.C. – The head of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is expressing concern about the “disproportional” number of fatal work zone crashes involving large trucks.
On Monday, FMCSA Deputy Administrator Meera Joshi discussed a problem plaguing the trucking industry she described as “tragic and absolutely preventable.”
“I am especially concerned that large trucks continue to have a disproportional involvement in fatal crashes occurring in work zones – 33% – when large trucks comprise roughly 5% of vehicular traffic,” Joshi said in an Agency news release.
According to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), in 2019, which is the most recent year data are available, 842 people died in highway work zone crashes compared to 757 the year before.
The 11.2% increase was the largest percentage increase of highway work zone fatalities this century.
The number of fatal work zone crashes involving large trucks or buses increased by 16%.
“Don’t allow yourself to become distracted, slow down, obey the signs and the instructions of flaggers and be courteous and safe by giving every vehicle extra space. Highway workers equally depend on you for their safety,” Joshi implored.
This week (April 26-30) is National Work Zone Awareness Week.
As part of the week-long initiative, FMCSA said it will be concentrating its safety awareness efforts in three states – Florida, Georgia and Texas – which experience some of the highest rates of work zone crashes involving large trucks in the country.
The Agency said motorists can expect to hear public service announcements and see safety messaging on billboards as they approach work zones.
April includes both National Work Zone Awareness Week and Distracted Driving Awareness Month. Stay alert when traveling through work zones—leave your phone down, finish your snack before driving, and keep your eyes on the road. https://t.co/UYJRLLUPmI #OurRoads #NWZAW pic.twitter.com/hkjsw7gJTx
— FMCSA (@FMCSA) April 26, 2021
Arkansas, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania – also states that have a high number of fatal crashes in work zones each year – will be conducting special activities such as holding educational workshops for commercial vehicle drivers and placing safety signage at weigh stations, the FMCSA informed.
Additionally, the Agency said it will join FHWA in urging the public to wear orange on Wednesday, April 28, for a national “Go Orange” Day to show their support for highway workers.
Photos courtesy Massachusetts State Police / Meera Joshi / FMCSA