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Volume 17: A Guide for Reducing Work Zone Collisions

Nearly 1,100 Die and 50,000 Are Injured Each Year

The Problem

Much of the nation’s highway infrastructure is aging and work zones are expected to remain a familiar sight, given the emphasis on the reconstruction of existing roadways. About 20 percent of the National Highway System is under construction each year during the peak summer work season.

With a steady increase in vehicle miles traveled and growing congestion on the nation’s roads, there has been a trend of increasing deaths and injuries in highway work zones. In 2004, work zone crashes killed 1,028 people and injured another 50,000. The preponderance of crashes occur in longer term construction zones, with more than half of them during the day and most on non-interstate roads posted for 55 mph or higher. Alcohol is involved in 40 percent of work zone crashes. More than half involve a single vehicle, and one in five involves a heavy truck.

The main goal of this Guide is the reduction of fatal work zone traffic crashes and the overall improvement of work zone traffic safety for workers, motorists and other highway users. Most of the recommended strategies are relatively low-cost, short-term treatments.


  • Reduce the number, duration and impact of work zones.
  • Improve work zone traffic control devices.
  • Improve work zone design practices.
  • Improve driver compliance with work zone traffic controls.
  • Increase knowledge and awareness of work zones.
  • Develop procedures to effectively manage work zones.

Download this guide: http://trb.org/publications/nchrp/nchrp_rpt_500v17.pdf

NCHRP 500-17

Work Zone

Data show that roadway construction workers are killed at a rate nearly three times higher than construction workers in other areas and eight times higher than general industry workers.

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Work Zone Collisions One Pager

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