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Road Worker Deaths – Need for Safety

The Need for Greater Road Worker Safety

While road construction worker deaths nationwide are down from what they were, they are still far too common. There are many different factors that contribute to the death toll here, but almost all of them involve drivers, not mistakes on the part of road construction workers. In order to help safeguard road workers, follow these tips:

  1. Always be aware of road construction zones. Obey the lower speed limit signs and watch for workers on the side of the road.
  1. Even if you don’t see lower speed limit signs in an area where road construction workers are active, slow down and exercise caution. The single most common cause of road construction worker deaths is being hit by a passenger car.
  1. If possible, move to another lane of travel when approaching road construction workers on the side of the road. Treat them the same as you would a law enforcement officer pulled over on the shoulder (many states have enacted laws that require drivers to move to another lane if possible).
  1. Avoid distracted driving in road construction zones. Do not use your cell phone, adjust the radio or eat or drink while behind the wheel in these areas. A single instant of neglect is all it takes to strike a worker.

Always remember that the number one threat to road construction workers is not heavy machinery, or even tractor trailers – it’s the family sedan or minivan driven by a distracted driver.

By exercising caution, avoiding distracted driving, slowing down and paying attention, you can help decrease the chance that another road construction worker will be killed in a completely avoidable accident.

When you hear about fatalities on the road, most people automatically think of accidents involving two or more vehicles. That type of accident is certainly the most common on the nation’s roadways. However, accidents involving road workers are rising in number. A Delaware road worker was recently killed in a single-car accident not far from Wilmington.

What Happened?

According to police reports and press coverage, the worker, Aleksandr Y. Mitishov, was employed by Enterprise Flasher Company of Wilmington. He had pulled off on the side of Interstate 95 in order to begin setting out road construction warning signs. Mitishov was wearing a reflective vest at the time. After pulling over in his Ford F-350, Mitishov opened the door and stepped out. He was almost immediately hit by a 1998 Nissan Quest minivan being driven by Victor Stritchie, a resident of Wilmington.

The impact was great enough to send Mitishov airborne. He landed in the northbound travel lane ahead of his Ford. Stritchie brought his vehicle to a stop and did not flee the scene. Police responding to the 911 call found that Stritchie, as well as the five other people within the minivan were all wearing their seatbelts, and none sustained any injuries from the accident.

Mitishov was treated on the scene, and then taken to Christiana Hospital Trauma Center. He was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital.

The accident occurred at 7:34 PM during twilight when visibility is poor, and even reflective vests may not provide the visibility needed to protect road workers. It is not clear whether Stritchie had the lights on in his minivan, if he was speeding, or if there was a failure to maintain lane. The accident is still under investigation by the state police through the Collision Reconstruction Unit. Alcohol has been ruled out, though.

It took approximately three hours for the crash to be investigated and then cleared, during which time traffic was restricted to one lane of travel.