Nearly half of road contractors have seen a work zone vehicle crash in the last year

Updated May 25, 2015


A recent survey by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) finds that 46 percent of road contractors have had a vehicle crash in one of their work zones, with 30 percent indicating at least five such incidences in a year’s time.

As a result, the association is calling for motorists to pay more attention when traveling through work zones, in particular citing the results showing that drivers or passengers are more likely to be injured during those incidences than workers.

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“If the thought of saving someone else’s life isn’t enough to get you to slow down, just remember that you and your passengers are more likely to suffer in a highway work zone crash than anyone else,” said Tom Foss, president of Brea, Calif.-based Griffith Company and the chairman of AGC’s Highway and Transportation Division. “In most work zones, there just isn’t enough margin for error for anyone to speed through or lose focus.”

The survey, conducted in March and April of 800 contractors nationwide, found only 16 percent of workers were injured during work zone vehicle crashes, but 9 percent involved a worker fatality. Fifty-five percent of those incidents killed one worker, 36 percent killed 2 workers, and 9 percent killed five or more.

Forty-one percent surveyed reported drivers or passengers injured during the crashes, but 22 percent indicated they didn’t know if either was injured. Ten-percent reported fatalities resulting from the crashes, with 50 percent reporting one death, 26 percent reporting two deaths, and 12 percent reported five or more.

Crashes in work zones causes delays 26 percent of the time, with the majority (33 percent) causing less than one day of work delays. Twenty-six percent of contractors, however, indicated crashes caused at least four days of delays.

Eighty-percent of contractors believe vehicle crashes in work zones are a greater risk now than a decade ago, and 90 percent believe stricter enforcement of existing laws would cut back on work zone crashes, injuries and/or fatalities. Eight-percent also believe that increasing the use of positive barriers in high-traffic areas would drop the rate of fatalities and injuries in work zones.

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However, the number one way to reduce these incidents, Foss said, is motorist behavior. “With the summer travel seasons starting this weekend, our message to every motorist is this: when you see construction signs and orange barrels, take your foot off the gas, put the phone down and keep your eyes on the road,” he said.

The results for the national survey can be found here.

Individual state results can be found at the below links: