The Urgent Need for Construction Safety: A Heartbreaking Tragedy in Maryland

A recent tragedy in Maryland, where six road construction workers lost their lives due to a vehicle crashing into their work zone, brings to the forefront the pressing need for enhanced construction safety measures. Such incidents highlight the vulnerabilities faced by road crews daily. This tragedy isn’t just a statistic – it’s about fathers, mothers, siblings, and friends whose lives were abruptly ended while they were simply doing their jobs.

The Details

On Interstate 695 in Baltimore County, a moment’s distraction led to an unthinkable disaster. A car lost control and went through an opening in the concrete barriers that largely protected the work zone. In a split second, six lives were taken.

This crash wasn’t an isolated incident. The current surge in highway projects funded by the infrastructure law has brought with it an increased risk to the workers ensuring our roads are safe and efficient. The rise in road deaths, further exacerbated during the pandemic, calls attention to a somber reality: our road workers are in grave danger.

The People Behind the Numbers

Rolando Ruiz, Carlos Orlando Villatoro Escobar, Jose Armando Escobar, Mahlon Simmons III, Mahlon Simmons II, and Sybil Lee DiMaggio – these were the names of those who died. They were fathers, husbands, and sons. Behind each name, there’s a family grappling with an immense loss.

For instance, Villatoro Escobar and Armando Escobar were brothers. Villatoro Escobar’s wife described the gaping void left behind by the tragic accident, highlighting the urgent need for drivers to exercise caution and empathy.

The Rising Concerns

According to the National Safety Council, around 860 people were killed in work zone crashes in 2020. This is a startling rise from the 586 people who were killed a decade earlier. Moreover, in Maryland alone, there were 7,704 work-zone-related crashes between 2016 and 2020, leading to 46 deaths.

While the Maryland Department of Transportation has redoubled its efforts on work zone safety, the challenges persist. Speeding, distracted driving, and tailgating remain the primary causes of such fatal crashes.

What Next?

Safety should be paramount. As the infrastructure bill promises more projects and job opportunities, it also rings alarm bells for the safety of our workers. It’s high time we heeded the warnings of experts and industry professionals who’ve been advocating for better protection measures for construction crews.

To echo the words of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, “We cannot and must not accept that roadway fatalities are an inevitable part of life in America.”

As we at OnderLaw advocate for the rights and safety of workers and victims of negligence, this tragedy serves as a grave reminder of the importance of our mission. Every life is precious. Let’s unite to ensure our roads are safe – not just for the drivers but also for those who build and maintain them.

If you or a loved one have been injured in an accident, contact OnderLaw for your free, no-obligation consultation.