On a clear, cold, Monday, January 20, 2014, a 36-year-old married flagger entered a two-lane highway with his back toward oncoming traffic and was struck by a 2010 red Toyota Corolla, driven by a 53 year-old motorist. The seven-man crew had finished setting up a construction zone on a two-lane highway to repair damaged guardrails along the westbound side of the roadway. The crew had placed alert signs in each direction of travel in preparation to stop all traffic prior to completely closing the westbound lane and had just dropped off the victim, who was designated as the flagger for the eastbound traffic. Traffic flow was to be coordinated with flaggers by two-way radios. Witnesses stated that the victim walked out into the eastbound lane with his back to oncoming traffic while facing the other flagger and the lane of traffic he stepped into had not yet been stopped. The victim was struck from behind by a passenger vehicle traveling approximately 55 mph. Police interviews with the driver stated that his vision was obscured due to the glare of the sun through his windshield and he did not see the victim.

Recommendation No. 1: Flaggers should never enter the roadway before traffic has been stopped and never turn their backs towards oncoming traffic.

Recommendation No. 2: Operators of motor vehicles should always adhere to roadway warning signage by slowing down and paying close attention while in a work zone area.

Recommendation No. 3: Employers should train employees quarterly to keep flagging safety policies and procedures fresh in their minds while working in highway situations.

Recommendation No. 4: Companies should set up traffic control in accordance with the MUTCD.

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Notes/Citation Information

A summary of this case is available as the additional file listed below.

14KY002_Summary.pdf (10 kB)
Case Summary