On May 20, 2005, three male construction workers, employed by a paving company, sustained fatal injuries when they were struck by a passenger bus in a highway work zone. The work zone, located in the southbound lane of a four-lane divided interstate highway, was demarcated by the required orange traffic cones and warning signs. The southbound driving lane was closed and the passing lane was open to traffic. At approximately 10:00 a.m., a southbound charter bus passed multiple warning signs as it approached the work zone. The bus driver attempted to brake approximately 0.2 miles south of the beginning of the work zone and move left, partially onto the median's shoulder, in an attempt to avoid striking the slowing vehicles ahead. Unable to move to the shoulder, the bus struck a motorcycle, hit the curb on the east side of the bridge, returned to the southbound passing lane and struck the rear of a tractor-trailer. The bus entered the work zone and struck the three victims who were working at the rear of a cement truck. After hitting the victims, the bus struck the cement truck in the rear bumper. The bus and the cement truck traveled together for 51 to 58 feet and collided with a parked, unoccupied pick-up truck. Immediately following the incident, the site supervisor called 911 to summon emergency medical services (EMS) who arrived at the site within minutes. One victim was pronounced dead at the scene. The other two victims were transported to a hospital where they both died. Two cement company employees and a NYSDOT inspector suffered minor injuries while escaping the collision. They were treated and released. The motorcyclist and six bus passengers were treated for injuries at a local hospital. The bus driver sustained critical injuries, was hospitalized, and later recovered. New York State Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (NY FACE) investigators concluded that to help prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future, bus companies should: 1. Inspect buses more frequently to insure that all parts and accessories function properly; and 2. Provide frequent training to bus drivers regarding highway work zone safety issues. Transportation administrative agencies that are responsible for designing traffic control plans on interstate highways and bridges should consider requiring: 3. Use of protective barriers to shield workers from intruding vehicles; 4. Use of portable rumble strips/speed bumps on roadways to warn motorists of highway construction work zones; 5. Reduced speed limits through work zones on highways with high traffic volume to protect workers; and 6. Use of law enforcement officers in cruisers with flashing lights at the entrance to a highway work zone, and an additional law enforcement vehicle at the end of the work zone to enforce speed limits.
Region-2; Accident-analysis; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Traumatic-injuries; Work-operations; Work-analysis; Work-areas; Work-performance; Work-practices; Safety-education; Safety-equipment; Safety-measures; Safety-monitoring; Equipment-design; Equipment-operators; Equipment-reliability; Training; Safety-programs; Warning-signs; Warning-devices; Drivers; Construction-workers; Construction