According to the Federal Highway Administration, over the last 10 years, the number of persons killed in motor vehicle crashes annually in work zones has increased by 45 percent. Each year, more than 40,000 people are injured as a result a motor vehicle crash in a work zone.
Through visits to the DOTís maintenance facilities, Iowa DOT Director Richardson learned that the Iowa DOT needed to do more to increase worker safety. Director Richardson asked Steve Gent, director of the DOTís Office of Traffic and Safety, to head up a working group that was charged with the task of developing a list of ideas that could lead to increased worker safety. One of the ideas generated by this group spawned the new work zone law.
During the legislative session, there were a number of individuals who shared their real-life experiences with legislators. Iowa DOT employee Bob Hubbard attended the House subcommittee (on HSB 559), and his comments especially, presented the safety hazards that highway workers face daily. In his 18 years working as a highway technician with the Iowa DOT, Hubbard has been struck by a moving vehicle four times. ďMy biggest concern is, will I be able to walk away the fifth time,Ē said Hubbard.
The work zone safety proposal ended up being amended into the Transportation Policy bill, House File 2651, on the House floor. HF 2651 passed the legislature and was signed by the Governor on April 25, 2008.