As communities across California grow, the need for more roadways and infrastructure to accommodate increasing populations grows alongside it. For this reason, road construction is a regular occurrence on the state’s roadways. However, you would be wise to drive defensively in these areas because fatal work zone crashes are on the rise.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration, road construction often does more than cause major delays. Work zones have numerous hazards that may make them difficult for you to navigate. Drivers who speed or otherwise drive negligently in these areas exacerbate risks even further.
Construction zone crash statistics
In 2017, 799 people died in car wrecks in the nation’s work zones, rising from 782 such deaths the year prior. On the national level, fatal crashes in work zones rose 3% between 2016 and 2017, even though the number of fatal crashes occurring outside of construction zones declined by 1.5% during this same time.
Construction zone hazards
Some factors that contribute to the rising number of fatal work zone crashes stem from the road construction, itself. Unfamiliar or unclear detours, unpaved or uneven roadways, and machinery or signage that may block your view may all increase crash risks.
Other motorists who speed through work zones also play a role in many work zone car wrecks. In 2016, 194 of the 782 work zone traffic fatalities involved drivers who were speeding. In 2017, 203, or more than a quarter, of the nation’s fatal construction zone crashes resulted from drivers who exceeded the speed limit in work zones.