In the early morning hours of May 3, 2023, a driver in Raleigh, North Carolina hit and killed a 33-year-old construction worker named C.J. Bryant in a work zone on I-40. Bryant left behind a fiancé and four children. 

On Labor Day 2023, four members of a sealcoating crew near Britton, Michigan were killed in their work truck when another truck T-boned them at an intersection.

The day after National Work Zone Awareness Week in 2023, a driver on I-17 north of Phoenix, Arizona crashed into a barrier truck going faster than 80 miles per hour in a work zone. If the barrier truck had not been there, someone may have died.

Those are just a small sample of the accidents happening regularly on our streets and highways because people took for granted the safety of those around them. Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for 2011-2021 shows an average of 745 crash fatalities every year, with a noticeable upward trend over that period. 

But this isn’t just a plea to drive more carefully. This is a call to take safety seriously in every area of life–on the road, at work, and at home. Safety is not just a corporate buzzword or a constraint on our freedom. It’s a responsibility that each of us shares–a promise we owe to those around us. When safety is sacrificed on the altar of convenience, people’s lives are irrevocably changed or lost entirely. Crafco has been working hard to make our industry safer, and we want you to join us.


At Crafco, one of our first priorities is the safety of our customers. Among other things, we engineer our machines to minimize back strain, place our control boxes curbside away from traffic, and give hands-on training to road crews about proper use of our materials and equipment. Our next big product release is geared toward minimizing a road crew’s exposure to traffic.

But our safety focus doesn’t stop with safe products. For example, every Crafco employee who drives for work is required to take a driving safety course. Our dedicated safety specialists spend time at our manufacturing locations finding safer ways to accomplish tasks. We are even rolling out an employee stipend to help our manufacturing employees purchase safe work boots. Taking safety seriously means building it into our culture at every level.

The problem is not a lack of awareness. When quizzed, most people can correctly identify what safety looks like in their daily lives. The real problem is hurry. We get so busy that we rationalize taking unnecessary risks “just this once,” and we repeat that until it becomes our default. Our human tendency to find patterns can make us think that skirting risk once means we will continue to get away with it. In short, we think we’re invincible—at least for this next time.

It is true that operating safely can be inconvenient. But every contractor has heard the old adage, “If you think hiring a professional costs a lot, just wait until you see what it costs to hire an amateur.” The same applies to safety: You can pay a little bit now, or you can pay a lot later. 

We’ve all been stopped in traffic on the highway with a nasty accident creating a bottleneck far ahead. We impatiently tap our fingers on the steering wheel, irritated at the inconvenience of being held up. When we eventually pass by the wreckage, we gawk at the twisted metal, broken glass, and emergency vehicles. But once we’re through the bottleneck, do we go right back to speeding and weaving through traffic—the type of behavior that likely led to that accident—or do we let someone else’s experience chasten us toward safer driving? It has been said that a smart man learns from his own mistakes, but a wise man learns from the mistakes of others.

Look around your life. Have you cut corners on safety in the name of getting ahead? Have you taken the fragile nature of life for granted? Your life is worth the minor inconvenience of safety. So is the life of your coworker, that other driver, or the random person you encounter in your day. The people who care about you agree.

About the Author:

Patrick Yeagle is content marketing specialist at Crafco Inc., the leading manufacturer in quantity and diversity of packaged pavement preservation products for asphalt and concrete. For more, visit

Modern Contractor Solutions, May 2024
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