CONNstruction - Winter 2018 - 6

newsandviews

A Blue Light
for Safety
By Don Shubert
CCIA President

Many work zones on Connecticut interstate highways
are not as safe as they need to be. The work zones are
missing a vital component that protects workers from
oncoming traffic - State Police cruisers with flashing
blue lights.
In the absence of blue lights, construction workers
are exposed to an increasingly dangerous situation,
especially during night work activities. Motorists' speeds
are increasing, their attention spans are decreasing, they
are distracted by technology in the car, and their respect
for the rules of the road is waning.
The situation has been escalating for a few years and
is only getting worse. A couple of maladies that have
resulted from lawmakers setting priorities to deal with
budget deficits are causing the blue lights in work zones
to disappear. There are not enough State Troopers to
cover the additional hours needed to support construction activities, and there is less incentive for the Troopers
to volunteer for this duty due to the elimination of receiving pension credits for the time spent in normal routine
traffic control.
Another problem is that the presence of Troopers
and blue lights are not required under the construction
work zone standards adopted in Connecticut. In our
state, ConnDOT follows the Manual for Uniform Traffic
Control Devices (MUTCD). That manual merely requires
amber lights to be present in work zones, even though
any individual standing in an active work zone will tell
you that amber lights do not provide enough protection
for workers and motorists.
Connecticut makes a feeble attempt to afford some
additional protections beyond the requirements of the
MUTCD. ConnDOT celebrates "work zone safety week,"
fines are increased in work zones, and there is a move

6 / CONNstruction / WINTER 2018

over law. But the effectiveness of one week of marketing and some rules are questionable, even if someone
notices them.
Additionally, Connecticut has a work zone safety
account that receives a meager $9,000 of funding a
month. This funding is barely enough to support speed
enforcement activity in a few ConnDOT maintenance
work zones. The funding does not provide a comprehensive measure of safety for workers or motorists.
A literature review by the Oregon Department of
Transportation demonstrates the importance of blue
lights in work zones. Research shows that drivers have
become desensitized to the current methods of work
zone safety. One reason is that the public perception
associates amber lights with the least hazard potential.
Another is that motorists could make the assumption
that all work zones present an equal danger potential,
when in reality, work zones present a wide spectrum of
hazard levels.
It doesn't take another study to show that motorists
slow down and pay closer attention when State Police
cruisers with flashing blue lights are in work zones. People
relate flashing blue lights to emergency vehicles and
enforcement. They take note quicker, focus on the situation at hand, and react accordingly. This creates a much
safer, controlled environment for everyone.
Today, many construction companies make it a business decision not to go out into work zones on highways when there is no Trooper with blue flashing lights
to support their operations. Contractors would much
rather suffer the financial losses of losing a day's work
and sending everyone home, than place their workers
and motorists in jeopardy. It's a high cost for a safety
measure, but the lives at stake are worth it.
Connecticut's lack of blue lights in work zone operations is an unsound situation that needs to be addressed.
It wasn't the case for many years and doesn't have to
be this way now. Perhaps state legislature should enact
a law that requires State Troopers with flashing blue
lights in work zones on our highways for the wellbeing
of everyone.



CONNstruction - Winter 2018

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of CONNstruction - Winter 2018

Fleet Tracking with Telematics
Don’t Let Vibration Damages Shake You
Trenching and Excavation Safety
Preventing Runovers and Backovers in Work Zones and Construction Sites
If OSHA Knocks, How Do You Respond?
Diggers Mixers Fixers Golf Outing
2018 AGC/CT Industry Recognition Dinner
Connecticut Road Builder Association Dinner
YCF Yard Goat Baseball/BBQ & Fall Membership Meeting
OSHA-CCIA-ConnOSHA Annual Safety Alliance Conference & Press Conference
A Blue Light for Safety
“If You See Something, Say Something” Applies to More Than Homeland Security
CONNstruction - Winter 2018 - Intro
CONNstruction - Winter 2018 - cover1
CONNstruction - Winter 2018 - cover2
CONNstruction - Winter 2018 - 3
CONNstruction - Winter 2018 - 4
CONNstruction - Winter 2018 - 5
CONNstruction - Winter 2018 - A Blue Light for Safety
CONNstruction - Winter 2018 - “If You See Something, Say Something” Applies to More Than Homeland Security
CONNstruction - Winter 2018 - Fleet Tracking with Telematics
CONNstruction - Winter 2018 - 9
CONNstruction - Winter 2018 - 10
CONNstruction - Winter 2018 - 11
CONNstruction - Winter 2018 - Don’t Let Vibration Damages Shake You
CONNstruction - Winter 2018 - 13
CONNstruction - Winter 2018 - Trenching and Excavation Safety
CONNstruction - Winter 2018 - 15
CONNstruction - Winter 2018 - 16
CONNstruction - Winter 2018 - 17
CONNstruction - Winter 2018 - Preventing Runovers and Backovers in Work Zones and Construction Sites
CONNstruction - Winter 2018 - 19
CONNstruction - Winter 2018 - 20
CONNstruction - Winter 2018 - 21
CONNstruction - Winter 2018 - If OSHA Knocks, How Do You Respond?
CONNstruction - Winter 2018 - 23
CONNstruction - Winter 2018 - 24
CONNstruction - Winter 2018 - 25
CONNstruction - Winter 2018 - Diggers Mixers Fixers Golf Outing
CONNstruction - Winter 2018 - 2018 AGC/CT Industry Recognition Dinner
CONNstruction - Winter 2018 - Connecticut Road Builder Association Dinner
CONNstruction - Winter 2018 - OSHA-CCIA-ConnOSHA Annual Safety Alliance Conference & Press Conference
CONNstruction - Winter 2018 - 30
CONNstruction - Winter 2018 - cover3
CONNstruction - Winter 2018 - cover4
CONNstruction - Winter 2018 - outsert1
CONNstruction - Winter 2018 - outsert2
CONNstruction - Winter 2018 - outsert3
CONNstruction - Winter 2018 - outsert4
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/CTCQ/CTCQ0418
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/CTCQ/CTCQ0318
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/CTCQ/CTCQ0218
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/CTCQ/CTCQ0118
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/CTCQ/CTCQ0417
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/CTCQ/CTCQ0317
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/CTCQ/CTCQ0217
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/CTCQ/CTCQ0117
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/CTCQ/CTCQ0416
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/CTCQ/CTCQ0316
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/CTCQ/CTCQ0216
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/CTCQ/CTCQ0116
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/CTCQ/CTCQ0415
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/CTCQ/CTCQ0315
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/CTCQ/CTCQ0215
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/CTCQ/CTCQ0115
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com