Construction Accidents in the United States: How Often, When, and Where They Happen

Sometimes road construction seems to be an inevitable inconvenience that exists purely to cause delays and serve as a source of frustration as we go about our travels. There are often detours, only one lane roads, and of course, slowed traffic. In a single year, there were 87,606 crashes in work zones, many of which caused injuries, property damages, and even deaths. What’s important to remember about road construction is that a number of accidents, injuries, and even fatalities occur every year. Here is what you need to know about the frequency of injuries and fatalities as a result of work zone accidents, as well as when and where they occur.

How Often They Happen
In the five years between 1994 and 1999, there were an average of 778 injuries in construction and maintenance zones per year. Between 2000 and 2006 there were an average of 1060 injuries, and also includes the year during which the average number of injuries was the highest — 2003 at 1,095. Between 2003 and 2013, the average number of injuries fell to only 609 per year.

Where They Happen
Road construction happens, well, pretty much anywhere roads go, but the highest rates of all work zone related accidents are on state highways. In 2011, more than 82% of these types of crashes occurred on state highways. As for everywhere else, research shows that just the presence of construction can cause a 70% increase in rates of accidents.

When They Happen
Most of all road work zone accidents that resulted in deaths — about three quarters of them — that occurred between the years 2003 and 2007 happened between the hours of 8am and 5pm, which might be a result of the fact that most people are driving on state highways at those times.

One injury occurs in a work zone every 14 minutes, which translates to four injuries per hour, and 103 injuries per day. Taking measures to drive with heightened caution when driving through a work zone is essential for helping ensure the safety of the people working and the other drivers around you. Pay attention to work zone signs and anything that will indicate changes in traffic patterns ahead of you. Drive at or below the speed limit posted by the work zone signs, and make sure that you follow any directions given to you by workers themselves, especially if they are manually directing traffic. 

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