Townsend, Del. (WorkersCompensation.com) – The Delaware Secretary of Transportation is calling for drivers to be more careful after a third employee was struck by a car over the past several weeks.
Transportation Secretary Jennifer Cohan said that a DelDOT roadworker was seriously injured on Thursday, when he was struck by a car while mowing the grass along a road in New Castle County. Cohan said in a release that because of his injuries, the employee was flown to the hospital.
The driver in the incident was charged with driving without a license, not having insurance and inattentive driving.
“We are seeing far too many people driving unsafely and now have had three employees injured in just the past two weeks by motorists not taking basic actions like slowing down when approaching our workers on the road,” Cohan said in a statement. “Beyond the safety of our employees, the number of overall fatalities happening on our roads is unacceptable. There is no excuse for it, and we are all responsible for our actions behind the wheel and will be held accountable for the injuries and damage that are caused by not being safe and courteous drivers.”
Transportation incidents are among the most frequent fatal events for on-the-job deaths, accounting for 40 percent of all work-related fatalities in 2018. There were 325 pedestrian vehicular incidents resulting in on-the-job fatalities reported that year, out of more than 2,000 transportation incidents. In that year, 5,250 employees died on the job.
Across the country, road fatalities are up despite people driving fewer miles, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said in August. The traffic fatality rate jumped in the second quarter of this year to 1.42 fatalities per every 100 million vehicle miles traveled, the NHTSA said, compared to 1.06 fatalities for every 100 million vehicle miles traveled during the same period in 2019. While traffic volumes dropped more than 16 percent, crash deaths fell just 2 percent during state mandated lock downs and stay-at-home orders.
In Delaware, traffic volumes are down 50 percent or more statewide for the past few months, officials said. However, there have been 91 automobile fatalities as of Oct. 1, three less than the same time period in 2019. Additionally, the state has seen 19 pedestrian fatalities so far this year, compared to 22 at this time last year.
Officials reminded state residents that some workers are more vulnerable to being hit by a car because of the nature of their jobs.
“Emergency responders and roadside workers put themselves at risk every day to help people who are in need of emergency assistance or whose vehicles are broken down,” said Cathy Rossi, Vice President of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic in a statement. “To ensure safety, the best thing drivers can do is slow down significantly and when possible move over when they see flashing lights, further protecting emergency responders and those they are helping on the side of the road. Whether this is a police officer, ambulance, fire truck or someone fixing a tire or working on a tow, slow down, move away and change lanes to create safe space around them. Their lives are on your shoulders.”