Advocates stress importance of work zone safety

Mobile County

MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — More calls for construction zone safety after yet another worker is injured on the job in Mobile.

Police say a DUI driver hit the worker and a piece of equipment at Airport Boulevard and McGregor Avenue.

The crash has advocates of workplace safety say this is exactly why they’re trying to get people’s attention.

“Every single year crashes in work zones and fatalities in work zones are increasing,” said Skip Powe, the Principal at Smith Seckman Reid.

In the state of Alabama, there were more than 2,000 work zone crashes in 2020 according to ALDOT. Those crashes led to 19 deaths and more than 600 injuries for both workers and drivers. That’s something the Alabama Associated General Contractors want to change.

“Crashes and fatalities continue to increase, we’re having more and more workers in the work zone killed each year. We’ve got to take additional measures to try to emphasize to the public to try and change their behavior,” Powe said.

They’re working on a PSA to raise awareness of the dangers of distracted driving in work zones — to get people’s attention and put an end to these types of crashes.

This comes as Mobile police investigate a work zone crash on Airport Boulevard. It happened early Monday morning around 3:30 a.m. The victim was working when Mobile police say 29-year-old Alyson Hillsman moved into a closed-off area and hit the worker and a piece of equipment. The victim was taken to the hospital but will be OK. Police say Hillsman was driving impaired.

“Please pay special attention when driving through work zones,” said Roman Clayton, a member of CNH Construction Services.

Clayton says one of his employees was killed last year while working in a construction zone.

“We had one of our employees on a nighttime duty in the last night of a long week of lane closures for the DOT. He was struck while removing signs at the end of the project,” Clayton said.

It happened last June on I-65, Terry Smith was killed in the early morning hours. Clayton says that the crash had a deep impact on his company.

“Dreaded, dearly. By anybody in the industry,” Clayton said.

The state also has increased the fees for any moving traffic violation in work zones, trying to end work zone-related crashes and deaths.

“It’s to really get drivers’ attention,” Powe said.

The driver in Monday mornings’ crash has been charged with DUI and assault.

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