Magazine article Occupational Hazards

Record Number Dying in Highway Work Zones

Magazine article Occupational Hazards

Record Number Dying in Highway Work Zones

Article excerpt

Deaths in construction zones are at an all-time high. In 1999, the most recent year for which the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has statistics, 868 people were killed in work zone-related accidents.

Most of those killed in work zone crashes were occupants of vehicles that collided with other cars or ran into construction equipment alongside the highway. Between 1995 and 1999, motorists accounted for 84 percent of work zone fatalities.

A U.S. House subcommittee held a hearing at the end of July to examine the increase in work zone deaths and to look at ways to reduce the numbers of accidents and fatalities. Several road-building industry groups participated in the hearing.

E. Dean Carlson, president of the Association of Highway Officials, said state transportation agencies have been trying to curb the growth of fatal accidents, but more education for workers and the public is needed.

"With an increase in the number of work zones as we repair and expand our nation's highway system, there are safety and mobility issues that require thoughtful planning by DOTs and special attention from the driving public," Carlson said.

Carlson noted it is clear on high-traffic-volume roadways that more effective and safer work zones exist when:

* Through lanes are maintained, often by paving shoulders;

* Geometrics allow capacity and speed to be maintained when barriers are placed between a work zone and moving traffic; and

* Motorists are given good warning well in advance in the work zone. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.