Workers in the transportation industry should take extra caution when parking along the side of a roadway, according to the Oregon State Fatality Assessment & Control Evaluation (FACE) Program.
The Oregon FACE Program issued a Roadside Safety Hazard Alert in October 2023 pointing out that “from 2018 to 2021, 217 U.S. workers died after being struck by a vehicle on the side of the road, and 48% of these cases were workers in the transportation industry.”
In Oregon, from 2019 to 2022 five vehicle operators died after being struck along the side of the road by another vehicle. Each of these cases involved a worker who had parked their vehicle unsafely on the side of the road at night or early in the morning when visibility was reduced.
Three specific examples of similar fatal incidents include:
- a 43-year-old truck driver who was struck and killed by a passenger vehicle while checking his load along the side of the road
- the 63-year-old operator of a tow truck who was struck by a tractor-trailer as he was retrieving a vehicle on the roadside of an interstate highway, and
- a 66-year-old truck driver who attempted to cross a highway on foot after stopping on the shoulder of the road and was struck by a passenger vehicle.
To avoid the hazard, the alert suggests drivers should:
- look for a safe place to pull over, such as a rest stop, instead of pulling over on the side of the road
- turn on hazard lights and leave headlights on to warn other drivers, if a roadside stop is unavoidable
- turn off the vehicle’s engine, remove the key, set the brakes and turn on hazard lights, if a driver must exit their vehicle on the side of the road
- look both ways for incoming vehicles and only cross roads at designated pedestrian crossings, and
- call for help immediately and stay in the vehicle while waiting, if roadside assistance is required.