Work Zone Crashes Involving Traffic Control Devices, Safety Features, and Work Vehicles and EquipmentAuthor/Presenter: Bryden, James E.
This paper examines 461 work zone crashes involving Category 3 and Category 4 work zone safety features, portable traffic signs, and work vehicles and equipment. Category 3 devices include crash attenuators and temporary traffic barriers. Category 4 devices include trailer mounted arrow panels, changeable message signs, and light towers. The crash data reported here, compiled from recent New York State DOT construction projects, show that portable signs and Category 4 devices are involved in a very small number of crashes and rarely result in injuries to vehicle occupants or workers. The use of traffic barrier or attenuators to reduce crash frequency and severity involving these devices is not indicated, because severity rates on temporary barriers and work zone attenuators are higher than on the devices they would be used to protect. Both work zone attenuators and temporary barriers were involved in a substantial number of crashes and injuries. These crashes emphasize the importance of deploying these devices according to accepted work zone practices, and limiting their use to situations where they are warranted to protect more serious hazards. Worker injuries reported in a number of these crashes emphasize the importance of safe work practices such as restraint use by vehicle occupants even at slow speeds in work zones, and effectively separating workers from traffic in work zones.