Data on fatal traffic crashes in work zones comes from the Fatality Analysis Reporting Systems (FARS), National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).1 These data represent crashes coded as occurring in a work zone from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. These data are extracted from law enforcement crash report forms, and as such are only as accurate as the data included in those reports. It is possible that some crashes that did occur in work zones were not recorded as being in a work zone, and so would not be included in these statistics.
Over the past 10 years, fatal crashes in work zones nationally have increased from 521 in 2010 to 762 in 2019 (see Figure 1). The percent of all fatal crashes that occur in work zones has also increased slightly. Whereas 1.7 percent of all fatal crashes in 2010 occurred in work zones, 2.3 percent of all fatal crashes occurred in work zones in 2019. The number of fatalities occurring in work zones has also increased from 546 in 2010 to 842 in 2019 (see Figure 2). Meanwhile, estimates of injuries occurring in work zones come from the Crash Report Sampling System (CRSS) and the General Estimates System (GES).2 During the same 10-year period, injuries in work zones have gone from 36,000 in 2010 to 39,000 in 2019 but have varied significantly from year to year. Overall, these trends mimic those of overall vehicular travel3 in the U.S. as well as highway and street construction expenditures4 (see Figure 3).
- Approximately four out of every five work zone fatalities in 2019 involve a driver or passenger of a vehicle
- On average, more than two persons per day were killed in work zones in 2019
- Based on the CRSS estimates, a traffic crash occurred in a work zone every 5 minutes during 2019
Other Work Zone Traffic Crash Statistics
- Fatal Work Zone and Non-Work Zone Crashes by Roadway Functional Classification
- Fatal Work Zone and Non-Work Zone Crashes by Time-of-Day
- Fatal Work Zone and Non-Work Zone Rear-End Collisions by Functional Classification
- Driver Distraction Involvement in Fatal Work Zone and Non-Work Zone Crashes by Functional Classification
- Commercial Motor Vehicle Involvement in Fatal Work Zone and Non-Work Zone Crashes by Functional Classification
- Pedestrian Fatalities in Work Zone and Non-Work Zone Crashes by Functional Classification
- Worker Fatalities and Injuries at Road Construction Sites: Trends and Statistics
1 Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS). National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation, Washington, DC. Accessible at https://www.nhtsa.gov/research-data/fatality-analysis-reporting-system-fars.
2 Crash Report Sampling System (CRSS). National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation, Washington, DC. Accessible at https://www.nhtsa.gov/crash-data-systems/crash-report-sampling-system.
3 Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), US Department of Transportation, Washington, DC. Accessible at https://www.bts.gov/content/us-vehicle-miles.
4 Archival Economic Data, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, St. Louis, MO. Accessible at https://alfred.stlouisfed.org/series?seid=TLHWYCONS.