Intersection & Other High-Risk
A work zone is a temporary roadway environment that can pose a risk to maintenance and construction workers as well as drivers. These areas are identified by warning signs/signals that mark the beginning and ending of the work area. Work zones are most commonly thought of as sections of roadway on which repairs are being performed. but they can also be mobile work activities, involving moving vehicles and workers
The figure below indicates the number of fatalities and severe injuries that occurred in work zone-related collisions. It is important to note that work zone-related collisions are not singularly identified based on whether workers are present at the time of the crash. An officer completing a collision report may use the existence of signage, lane restrictions or reductions, or the presence of equipment or workers to determine if the site or origination of a collision was within a work zone. Additionally, a collision may have occurred within a work zone but the cause of the collision may be unrelated to any work zone activity or area, as might be the case of a drowsy or distracted driver-related crash.
Work zone fatal and severe injury collisions have been trending upward since 2008 when 14 fatal and severe injury crashes resulted in the deaths of 2 persons while severely injuring 14. Most recently, in 2012, there were 43 work zone fatal and severe injury collisions, a 207% increase from 2008. The most frequently reported contributing factor in work zone fatal and severe injury collisions is driving too fast for conditions and failure to yield right of way. Charleston, Greenville, and York Counties experienced the highest number of work zone collisions.
There was a 7.5% increase in the number of these collisions from 2008 to 2012. However, these figures indicate a large decline from 2003 which was prior to the implementation of the Safety Improvement Team (SIT), declining by almost 50% .
Work zone activities may be classified into several different types. Shoulder or median work may encompass clearing or shielding roadside hazards to maintain a proper clear zone. Utility or maintenance work such as mowing or painting would be identified in the intermittent or moving work category.
Work zone-related collisions may occur at any number of locations, as seen in Table 19 (refer to Figure 64 for an illustration of work zone areas). A work zone activity area is one in which work takes place; the advanced warning area tells drivers what to expect ahead; the transition area moves traffic out of its normal path; and the termination area allows traffic to resume normal operation. “Before the first sign” means that the collision occurred just prior to the advanced warning area.