Fatalities in roadway construction zones decreased in 2003, the first drop since 1997, according to data recently released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Approximately 1,028 people were killed in roadway work zones in 2003compared to 1,186 fatalities in 2002. The most significant drop in work zone deaths occurred in Georgia, which had 24 fatalities last year — 94 less than in 2002. Texas also had a significant drop with 161 fatalities, down from 197 the previous year.
In total, twenty-eight states reported a decrease in work zone fatalities, 19 states reported an increase in deaths and three states reported no change. Texas had the highest number of fatalities. Alaska, Maine and the District of Columbia had no deaths in roadway work zones during 2003.
According to Dave Bower, spokesman for American Road and Transportation Builders Association, there is no clear reason for the significant drop in fatalities in Georgia and Texas. But safety training and driver awareness programs have probably contributed to the decrease in roadway work zone deaths, he continued.
ARTBA owns and operates the National Workzone Safety Information Clearing House, which disseminates national statistics and provides safety information. The clearinghouse also answers common questions about workzone safety, and offers training program material. The database includes 1,203 records of description and contact information for videos, courses, workshops, conferences, materials and certification programs that deal with safety on the roadway jobsite. To view roadway fatality statistics by state, or to get more information on safety training, click on the link to the right.