U.S. highways are dangerous places to work, especially for those working close to the cars, trucks and tractor-trailers on the roads. One dangerous job on the highways is that of the toll collector. There have been several incidences in recent years in which employees were struck by negligent drivers, who did not follow safety regulations or slow down near toll booths. In New Jersey, speed is a particular problem since the introduction of the EZ-Pass system.
Vehicles that use the EZ-Pass system do not have to stop at the toll booths. They only need to slow down enough for the scanners to read their passes. When commercial trucks and tractor-trailers drive through these toll plazas, they can cause wild rumblings in the booths. Unfortunately, speed or failure to stop may have caused a recent truck accident that injured a toll plaza employee.
An hour from Newark, at the Robbinsville exit of the New Jersey turnpike, a worker for the New Jersey Turnpike Authority was injured after she was struck by a big rig. The victim was a former collector who was recently promoted to a supervisory level position.
Sources have no information about her injuries or exactly how she was injured. Union representatives are hoping that her injuries are not serious, but they do recognize that toll gate workers really put their lives on the line every day.
According to accident records from recent years, one incident involved an employee who was trapped, and had to be cut out of the toll booth after a collision with a car knocked it backwards. A state trooper was also killed doing seat belt checks on the turnpike.
Despite adding rumble strips, drivers still fail to slow down to an acceptable speed when approaching the toll plaza. Other safety measures are being considered, but workers have found many proposed ideas to be unpopular with drivers.
The simplest solution would be for drivers, especially those who drive large commercial trucks, to consider the safety of workers and slow down to safe speeds when approaching a toll booth.
Hopefully, the victim in this case was not seriously hurt. Victims struck by trucks often suffer serious injuries, with many leading to fatalities. These individuals or their families should consider filing a civil lawsuit to gain financial compensation for the injuries suffered because of an accident.
Source: NBC 10 Philadelphia, “Turnpike Worker Hit by Tractor-Trailer,” Karen Araiza, April4, 2013.