UPDATED: Comcast Workers Don’t Seem To Care That Their Truck May Have Caused Half-Dozen Accidents

Image courtesy of Amish Hacker | YouTube

[This story has been updated with a statement from Comcast]
Perhaps the most-common complaint we hear about Comcast repair crews is their absence: just getting one to come can sometimes be a challenge. But when there is actually a repair crew in your neighborhood, you would expect them to, y’know, maybe care if their presence causes a half-dozen car accidents. And yet, video appears to show a Comcast crew in Indiana acting with indifference to the vehicular chaos apparently triggered by their presence.

The below video comes to us via Jalopnik. In less than four minutes of footage, you can see at least four cars run off the road, and another two collide along the same stretch, all while trying to avoid crashing into a Comcast Xfinity service vehicle blocking the right lane of the two-lane road:

More shocking than the accidents, however, is the apparent complete disregard these particular Comcast workers seem to have for the chaos piling up around them.

The man shooting the video gets increasingly frustrated with the unsafe situation, as cars basically pile up by the side of the road around him, and confronts the driver of the Comcast truck.

“Your guys caused — ” he begins, but the Comcast employee cuts him off.

“No, we didn’t cause anything. No, that car up there did. See?” he points ahead, presumably to the damage to Comcast’s equipment that he and his colleague are out there to repair. “See that one that hit the power supply? We gotta fix it.”

“There was five cones,” the Comcast driver continues.

“Was that — that’s not enough,” the bystander holding the phone challenges.

“This is a forty-mile-an-hour road, right?” the Comcast employee responds. “So we have to have one cone per ten-mile-an-hour. Five cones, for a forty-mile-an-hour zone. Maybe somebody shouldn’t be flying through here.”

Adding, “I gotta go fix stuff,” the driver pulls away while the filmer is still trying to call, “I’m telling you…”

After this exchange, the repair truck pulls up exactly to where a previous one had been, puts four cones in the middle of the lane, and resumes taking up half the road.

Barely more than twenty seconds after this exchange, a grey sedan comes over the hill and brakes to avoid the repair zone and a pickup truck following too closely over the top of the blind hill dramatically rear-ends the sedan, sending the sedan into another car and the pickup truck into a spin across two homes’ front yards.

In the wake of the crash, the filmer shouts back to the Comcast repair team, “Maybe a couple more cones?!”

To which the Comcast worker holds out his arms and says, “Why would I need more cones?”

It’s not even a matter of there not being more cones: at one point, the man filming the footage even asks if there are more cones available, and one repair worker even answers, “Yeah, I got a couple more on the truck,” at which point nobody goes to get them or put them out ever.

On a flat road with good visibility — and without slush making conditions treacherous — that minimum guideline for warning cones would probably be all right. Drivers would stand a chance, at least.

But the conditions this took place in are far from ideal. The road isn’t flat, here: as the video shows, the repair work is taking place on the back side of a hill, meaning drivers literally can’t see the truck until they’re very nearly on top of it, with little stopping room. And also as the video shows, it was a cold, snowy day with ice and salt making driving conditions treacherous.

Without a doubt, some drivers on that road had to be exceeding safe driving speeds and probably many don’t have great winter tires on their vehicles. But you would think that perhaps after the first two or three accidents, the repairmen might be willing to entertain the notion that they could be doing something more safe with their truck.

As the bystander continues to film the Comcast crew, one in the cherry-picker confronts him. “Do you have a job, sir?” he demands.

“I do have a job,” the filmer responds.

“So do I,” the repairman says. “This is my job.”

“Yes but I’m saying that it’s a safety — if I had a job that was putting people in danger, and I tell you about it, and you ignore me, saying it’s not your fault, and then this happens right in front of you … I know you have a job, but do it safely!”

In the end, the man with the camera gets his own traffic cones and sets them up in the right lane before the four that the Comcast workers were willing to provide.

As Jalopnik points out, the actual OSHA safety guidelines for protecting workers next to the road call for far more signage and warning, for a much greater distance, than this repair crew provided. And now it’s clear why.

UPDATE: Comcast has issued a statement apologizing for this week’s incident.

“When I watched this video I was very concerned by what I saw,” says Ed Marchetti, SVP of Technical Operations, Comcast Cable, in a statement emailed to Consumerist. “Our employees should always protect people and treat them with respect no matter what the situation. Safety matters most – especially in dangerous weather conditions like this.

“We are actively investigating what happened when our technicians were on site to restore services during an outage and we will reach out to those who were impacted by this incident.

“Within the next 24-48 hours, my team leaders will meet with our technicians across our company to use this as an example of how important it is to make everyone’s safety a priority in everything we do.

“And just as important, there’s no place for disrespect – treating people the right way is the only way to work.”

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