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The link between construction zones and road deaths

On Behalf of | Jul 22, 2020 | motor vehicle accidents

No one likes to encounter road construction during their travels, but statistics show that doing so may be more than just annoying. The number of lives lost in U.S. work zones is on the rise, suggesting that in addition to being a nuisance, construction zones are highly dangerous, too. 

Per the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration, construction zones present numerous hazards that may lead to confusion and car wrecks. Changing traffic patterns, narrowed roadways and decreased visibility are all at play in most construction zones, and all of these factors have the potential to enhance crash risks. 

Work zone crash statistics

Studies show that while all fatal wrecks across the country declined by 1.5% between 2016 and 2017, the number of deaths occurring in construction zones increased by 3% within that same period. In 2017, 799 people died on construction zone car crashes, up from 782 deaths the year prior. 

Also, while other motorists and the people in their vehicles suffered the majority of those deaths, or 658 of them, in 2017, pedestrians and cyclists also face heightened risks in these areas. In 2017, 136 of the 799 work zone fatalities involved those traveling on foot or by bike. 

Speed a common element

Drivers who exceed work zone speed limits exacerbate the dangers these areas already present. In 2017, speed had a hand in 203 of the fatal wrecks that took place in work zones. The year before, speed factored into 194 of the 782 total work zone road deaths that occurred on U.S. roadways. 

Find out more about crashes in construction zones and other areas on our webpage.