On Wednesday, May 26, Carolinas AGC proudly partnered with AGC of America and SCDOT for a press conference in Columbia, South Carolina to release the South Carolina results of AGC of America’s 2022 Work Zone Safety Awareness Survey consisting of results from CAGC Members.
CAGC Highway Division Vice Chair and Vice President of King Asphalt Marty McKee began the press conference.
“As a contractor, safety is the most important thing for our employees and for everyone working on our jobsites,” McKee said.
Brian Turmail of AGC of America, highlighted the survey results with members of the media, Carolinas AGC members, SCDOT employees, and OSHA employees in front of the SCDOT headquarters.
According to the survey results, motorists are in even greater danger from highway work zone crashes than construction workers, Turmail noted. Seventeen percent of South Carolina contractors participating in the survey experienced crashes that resulted in injury to construction workers. But nearly three times as many South Carolina firms–42 percent—reported experiencing a crash in which drivers or passengers were injured.
Among the results, 93% of SC CAGC Members working on highways experienced cars crashing into their work zones during the past year, 29% more than the national average. And 94 percent of South Carolina contractors report that highway work zones are either as dangerous, or more dangerous, than they were a year ago. Turmail said that figure is consistent with newly released federal data that reported motor vehicle fatalities rose to a 17-year high in 2021.
“The best thing anyone can do to protect themselves and workers is to slow down, put the darn phone down, and pay attention when you are in a work zone,” Turmail concluded.
“SCDOT is entering the second half of our Strategic 10-Year Plan to Repair SC’s Roads and Bridges. From the beginning of the Plan in 2017, SCDOT has been working in every county of SC,” said SC Transportation Secretary Christy Hall, who joined Turmail and others to release the new work zone data. “More work zones are occurring all across our state as we make progress. For the safety of all highway workers, it is imperative that all motorists use an abundance of caution when approaching and driving through work zones.”
Hall said road work is currently at an unprecedented level – four times the normal level – and continuing to increase with road work being completed in every county of the state.
“There are probably close to 10,000 people on a daily basis working on our roadside just a few inches, a paint line, away from what could be a catastrophic event,” Hall said.
Hall and Turmail both reiterated that contractors and SCDOT are doing their part to make work zones safer through improved technology, lighting, signage and safety gear as well as increased law enforcement. They begged motorists to do their part as we enter the summer season, the peak of both traffic and road construction.
“Pay Attention. Slow down. Save a life that may be your very own,” Hall pleaded.
Later that afternoon, Turmail and McKee also participated in a national, virtual media event releasing the national data to media outlets across the country. Together, they continued to reiterate that arriving seconds early to your destination is not worth the risk it entails particularly when driving through work zones.
The work zone safety study was based on a nationwide survey of highway construction firms the association conducted this April and May. Over 500 contractors completed the survey, including 38 in South Carolina. Visit the AGC of America website to view the full results, including the national, state, and regional highway construction zone survey results.