Work Zone Mobility and Safety Program
Photo collage: temporary lane closure, road marking installation, cone with mounted warning light, and drum separated work zones.
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FHWA Work Zone Facts and Statistics

Introduction

Access Comprehensive Work Zone Data Sets

For additional data visit the National Work Zone Safety Information Clearinghouse.

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Work zones play a key role in maintaining and upgrading our Nation's roadways. Unfortunately, daily changes in traffic patterns, narrowed rights-of-way, and other construction activities often create a combination of factors resulting in crashes, injuries, and fatalities. These crashes also cause excessive delays, especially given the constrained driving environment.

This page highlights work zone-related data insights. Understanding trends in data is the first step to making changes to improve work zone safety, mobility, and constructability. For additional information and data, please visit the National Work Zone Safety Information Clearinghouse.

Work Zone Exposure. In the US, one work zone fatality occurs for every 4 billion vehicle-miles of travel1 and for every $112 million worth of roadway construction expenditures.2, 3

Work Zone Fatalities. Between 2019 and 2020, fatal crashes in work zones increased by 1.4 percent while fatal crashes outside of work zones increased by 6.6 percent.4 Although there were decreases in the percentages of fatal work zone crashes involving rear-end collisions as well as those involving a commercial motor vehicle (CMV), these were offset by an increase in fatal work zone crashes that involved speeding. Persons on foot and bicyclists also saw a significant increase (21%) in work zone fatalities in 2020 relative to 2019.5

Work Zone Crashes. In 2019, nearly one quarter of all fatal work zone crashes involved rear-end collisions.

Total Work Zone Traffic Fatalities6

Total work zone fatalities by person type in 2019 are 845 and in 2020 are 857.
Total work zone fatalities by person type in 2019 are 845 and in 2020 are 857. Categories are broken down by drivers and passengers with 690 fatalities in 2019 and 680 in 2020; persons on foot and bicyclists with 141 fatalities in 2019 and 170 in 2020; and others (occupants of a non-motor vehicle transport device and persons on personal conveyances) with 14 fatalities in 2019 and 7 in 2020.

Total Work Zone Fatal Traffic Crashes7


Two pie charts show 2019 and 2020 statistics.
Two pie charts show 2019 and 2020 statistics. The 2019 total crashes are 765 and the breakdown is 295 interstate, 390 arterial, 49 collector, 30 local, and 1 other. The 2020 breakdown of 774 crashes is 300 interstate, 372 arterial, 62 collector, 22 local, and 18 other.

Total Work Zone Fatal Traffic Crashes By Type8


The following types of fatal work zone crashes increased from 2019 to 2020.
The following types of fatal work zone crashes increased from 2019 to 2020. Categories are broken down by involving a rear-end collision with 184 (24%) fatalities in 2019 and 156 (20%) in 2020; involving a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) with 252 (33%) fatalities in 2019 and 208 (27%) in 2020; and where speeding was a factor with 242 (32%) fatalities in 2019 and 287 (37%) in 2020. Highway worker occupational fatalities in road construction sites in 2020 were 135 in 2019 and 117 in 2020.

Notes:

  • Data on fatal traffic crashes in work zones comes from the Fatality Analysis Reporting Systems (FARS), National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). 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.
  • Data regarding highway worker fatalities at road construction sites are available from the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), US Department of Labor. BLS defines a "road construction site" as a location of construction, maintenance, and utility work on a road, street, or highway. CFOI data are collected from each state, the District of Columbia, New York City, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Guam. These data are extracted from accident reports provided to BLS, and are only as accurate as the data included in those reports. It is possible that some accidents occurring at road constructions sites were not recorded as such, and so would not be included in these statistics.

Sources:

1 Bureau of Transportation Statistics – 799 fatalities in work zones in 2017 and 3,174,408,000,000 VMT in 2016. Accessible at: https://www.bts.gov/. [ Return to Note 1 ]

2 Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis Economic Data - Average estimate of total US road construction expenditures of $89,316,083,333 in 2017. Accessible at: https://fred.stlouisfed.org/. [ Return to Note 2 ]

3 National metrics do not exist for the number of work zones occurring annually or the vehicle-miles of exposure to work zones. [ Return to Note 3 ]

4FARS 2020 Annual Report File, NHTSA. FARS data shown here are from the 50 States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. [ Return to Note 4 ]

5 Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) 2019 Final File and 2020 Annual Report File, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). FARS data shown here are from the 50 States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. [ Return to Note 5 ]

6 FARS 2019 Final File and 2020 Annual Report File, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). FARS data shown here are from the 50 States, District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. [ Return to Note 6 ]

7 FARS 2019 Final File and 2020 Annual Report File, NHTSA. FARS data shown here are from the 50 States, District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. [ Return to Note 7 ]

8 2019 and 2020 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, in cooperation with State, New York City, District of Columbia, and Federal agencies, Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries. Accessible at: https://www.bls.gov/iif/oshcfoi1.htm [ Return to Note 8 ]

Note: Figures are subject to revision, as values reported in FARS may be updated intermittently. Values shown here reflect what is reported by NHTSA as of March 2022.