Mitigation Strategies to Protect Workers


In the span of five years, 255 roadway workers were struck and killed by vehicles, according to an ongoing annual report compiled by the Emergency Responder Safety Institute (ERSI). The report shows an uptick in struck-by-fatality deaths of roadway crews in an era of distracted drivers. Of the 255 deaths, 96 were tow operators, 13 were road service technicians and nine were DOT/SSP workers.

In correlation with the statistics, the ERSI assembled a report that outlines several mitigation strategies that agencies can utilize to protect its crews, including adopting new emergency lighting and vehicle conspicuity practices to better alert drivers and divert oncoming traffic away from these work trucks. 

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The ERSI documented an increasing number of organizations are adopting traffic advisors and digital message boards to improve visibility and give clear direction to approaching motorists.  The report noted that multi-level or high-rise light systems are key in elevating lighting and advisors above obstructing views to create visibility farther away from the scene. While some advisors utilized directional pulsing light bars, the study found that large arrow boards were especially effective at diverting motorists away from the scene. 

Command Light manufactures a series of traffic advisors and message boards that can rotate up to 360 degrees, giving drivers the ability to direct the advisor toward oncoming traffic as they position the work truck for operations. When not in use, these flow boards fold down for a low-profile design. Command Light offers five different pattern variations powered by 12V DC. 

This lighting manufacturer also builds a battery-powered work tripod that can be equipped with a Feniex Arrow Stick or a Federal amber or blue message bar for a more mobile option. These tripods work off your choice of DeWalt FLEXVOLT, Makita XGT or Milwaukee M28 battery. And if you need mobile work lighting, these tripods can be equipped with high-powered LEDs.


The report also addressed bright white lights, which often cause glare and visibility problems for crews and motorists when not properly elevated. The report strongly suggests elevating and positioning white light to illuminate only work areas. Light towers are one of the most effective ways to control lighting.

In fact, these towers offer up to 360 degrees of rotation, while the light tower clusters and elevates the light, much like sports stadium lighting, to improve illumination for recovery teams while creating non-glaring light that alerts motorists of the work area ahead. 

To illuminate dual areas, Command Light offers optional backlight that enables the bottom row of lamp heads to rotate 180 degrees, and the design allows the tower to overhang the vehicle in a streetlight position, directing the light down as suggested by the ERSI report. 

To ensure more companies can equip their trucks with a light tower, Command Light commissioned several lighting manufacturers to create exclusive, economical fixtures for its models. These LEDs shave the cost of a new light tower by 33 per cent while delivering a 14,000 to 17,000 lumens per fixture. 

“At Command Light, we pride ourselves on creating lighting that truly can help save the lives of victims and responders alike,” says Roger Weinmeister, president, Command Light. “The ResponderSafety Team said it best after releasing its first ERSI report … we simply cannot wait another day to make this a top priority.”

About the ERSI Report

The Emergency Responder Safety Institute began tracking struck-by-vehicle deaths starting in 2019. These ongoing annual reports are available at The ERSI also produces and the ResponderSafety Learning Network (, which offer online training and traffic safety certification programs.  

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