Work zones have been around South Carolina and the rest of the nation for decades. Yet, fatal work zone crashes have increased at rapid rates in recent years. The rising numbers of work zone crashes and fatalities raise questions about the dangers these areas present and what motorists might do to help protect themselves in these areas.
Per the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration, fatal work zone crashes increased by 11% between 2018 and 2019, while fatal crashes in all other areas of the roadway decreased by 2%.
Work zone crash data
Many car crashes in work zones lead to injuries and fatalities. In 2018, 757 people died in crashes in the nation’s work zones. The majority, or 621, of those deaths, involved either drivers or passengers traveling in cars. Another 131 of those work zone fatalities involved cyclists or pedestrians.
In 2019, there were 842 deaths in the nation’s construction zones, 690 of which involved those riding in or driving passenger cars. Another 140 of 2019’s work zone crash fatalities involved pedestrians or cyclists.
Work zone safety
Many work zone crashes are the result of motorists speeding or traveling too closely behind other cars. In 2019, about a quarter of all construction zone crashes resulted from rear-end collisions, and some of them were deadly. Depending on the severity, rear-end collisions may also cause whiplash or back or spinal injuries, among other injury types.
Because so many work zone wrecks involve drivers striking one another from behind, motorists may be able to lessen their chances of involvement in a wreck by driving slowly and maintaining a safe distance between cars.