Driverless Work Zone Trucks May Save Construction Workers’ Lives

Construction workers face danger daily in their jobs. The high number of hazards involved in this line of work can easily result in injury or death for these workers. Because of this, anything that can be done to keep these workers out of harm’s way and prevent accidents is worth looking into. Now, Royal Truck & Equipment Inc. is rolling out self-driving trucks in highway construction sites as part of a pilot program. If successful, these trucks may prevent many injuries and deaths for construction workers performing road work.

The crews you see blacktopping roads, painting lines, inspecting bridges, or installing traffic lights, are roving construction crews. These crews are generally protected from traffic by a special truck that has been outfitted with a crash barrier. There is no doubt that these “crash trucks,” which are equipped with a device called a truck-mounted attenuator, save the lives of the workers on the road. The Journal of the Transportation Research Board did a study which found that these truck-mounted attenuators cut work-zone injuries and deaths from rear end collisions by almost 50%. The only exception is the life of the crash truck driver. These crash truck drivers are literally sitting in harm’s way, waiting to be struck by oncoming traffic. Royal designed the driverless crash trucks to remove the driver from a very dangerous situation.

For now, the trucks will be tested as part of a pilot program in Florida. If successful, it may not be long until we see driverless crash trucks on Texas roads, protecting Fort Worth and San Antonio construction workers.

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