Work zone crashes claim three lives every day in the U.S.
Providing safe highways for not only motorists, but for highway workers whose lives are on the line every day, is the top priority of the Nevada Department of Transportation.
Work zones are there to improve the roads that we all drive on. They are no place for impatient or aggressive driving. The signs and other directions given at work zones are intended to get you, your family and other motorists around you to your destination safely. So, when approaching a work zone, remember to slow down and follow all the important safety tips and information in the links in the menus to the right and left. Your life-and ours-depend on it!
Nevada Revised Statute 484.3667 doubles the penalty for speeding, up to $1,000, in any marked road construction or maintenance work zone when workers are present.
Watch for flaggers! Follow their signals, and don't change lanes within the work zone
Watch for flaggers! Follow their signals, and don't change lanes within the work zone unless instructed to do so.
? Don't tailgate! Most work zone crashes are rear-end collisions.
? Expect the unexpected! Work zones change constantly.
? Eliminate distractions! Put down the cell phone; leave the radio dial alone. This is not the time to look for a new CD!
? Keep your ears open! Do not wear earphones while driving.
? Merge early! You can be ticketed (and can cause a crash) for being a last chance merger.
? Turn your lights on before you enter the zone! Turn on your vehicle's headlights to become more visible to workers and other motorists.
???????? Stay calm! Remember the work zone crew members are working to improve your future ride.
Highway work zones constitute a major safety concern for government agencies
Highway work zones constitute a major safety concern for government agencies, the legislature, the highway industry, and the traveling public. Despite the efforts made by government agencies and the highway industry, there is little indication that work zone crashes are on the decline nationwide. The main reason behind this is that current safety countermeasures are not working effectively in the work zones. Lack of effective countermeasures may be due to the fact that the characteristics of work zone crashes are not well understoodHighway work zones constitute a major safety concern for government agencies, the legislature, the highway industry, and the traveling public. Despite the efforts made by government agencies and the highway industry, there is little indication that work zone crashes are on the decline nationwide. The main reason behind this is that current safety countermeasures are not working effectively in the work zones.
Work zone safety and on improving the identification of work zone problems
The emphasis on work zone safety and on improving the identification of work zone problems has been increased by recent legislation. The Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) specifically required the Secretary of Transportation to develop and implement a work zone safety program that will improve work zone safety at construction sites and to develop uniform accident reporting for fatalities, injuries, and certain specified accident types, which include work zone accidents. Recommendations in a 1992 report by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) included the following: (1) the reporting of work zone fatalities should be revised to distinguish between persons driving highway maintenance vehicles within work zones and other drivers who crash in work zones while traversing the work zone site
Work zone accidents represent approximately 2 percent of the total police-reported accidents
work zone accidents represent approximately 2 percent of the total police-reported accidents for States These percentages compare favorably with results from earlier studies reviewed. It is believed, however, that the number of actual work zone accidents is probably greater than the reported number for three primary reasons: First, many minor accidents occurring at a work zone site may not result in a police accident report. Second, work zone crashes that occur near work activity (e.g., a rear-end collision at the end of a work zone queue) may not be reported as work zone accidents. Third, as d scussed below, the accident reporting/coding process may not pick up work zone accidents if the report form does not have explicit data elements for the work zone condition.
The percentage of work zone accidents involving a rear-end collision was significantly higher than that of non-work zone accidents
The percentage of work zone accidents involving a rear-end collision was significantly higher than that of non-work zone accidents. This may suggest that speed differential among vehicles traveling through work zones may be a primary contributor to work zone accidents. It was also found from all three States' distributions that the percentage of sideswipe collisions in work zones is higher than the percentage of sideswipe collisions in non-work zones. Many work zones typically include shoulder/lane closures, which increase the chance of lane-change maneuvers. This may account for the difference in the percentage of sideswipe accidents.
What criteria should be used to define work zone accidents?
How police officers interpret the data elements on the form related to work zones raises a larger question: what criteria should be used to define work zone accidents? Should the criteria include only those accidents that occur within the specific limits of work area during the time that work is being performed? Or should it include all accidents that occur within the work zone while the signs are present and not necessarily while work is ongoing at the time of the accident? Should the definition also include accidents that occur upstream of the first construction zone warning sign but are attributable to queuing that has been created by the work area?
the following recommendations were developed: (1) uniform definitions of "work zone type" and "work zone crash" should be developed and implemented; (an example of data elements for collecting work-zone accident information is shown in figure 3), (2) methods for determining exposure in work zones should be developed; (3) issues related to work zone crashes should be considered during the development of new accident reporting technologies and "smart" data collecting/reporting software; and (4) a "special study" of work zone safety should be conducted in cooperation with selected States to develop a more detailed understanding of the relationships between work zone designs and crashes.
Additional resources provided by the author
Howard Roitman, Esq.
8921 W. Sahara Ave.
Las Vegas, NV 89117