Work zones are common across New Jersey, and while they are often a source of delay and frustration, research shows that they are also quite dangerous for drivers to navigate. The number of people dying in work zones across the nation rose 11.2% between 2018 and 2019, raising questions about what cities and states might do to better protect their citizens in these areas.
Per the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration, the increase in work zone deaths seen between 2018 and 2019 was the biggest increase seen since 2006. In 2019, 842 people died in construction zone crashes nationwide, while 757 people died in work zones across the United States the year prior.
Work zone construction-related crash hazards
Work zones often have many elements that make them dangerous to navigate. Loose gravel and visual obstructions are among them. Unfamiliar detours or workers or equipment in the roadway also heighten work zone crash risks.
Work zone driver-related crash hazards
Many work zone car wrecks are the result of other motorists behaving negligently. Driver distraction is a common factor in work zone wrecks. So, too, is reckless driving. Many construction zone car crashes also involve speed, alcohol or both. Many work zone wrecks occur because drivers are traveling too fast to adapt when motorists in front of them slow down to avoid construction-related obstructions.
While work zone car crashes endanger those traveling in cars and trucks as well as those working in the roadway, the majority of fatal work zone crash victims, are those driving or traveling in passenger cars.