Work Zones

In 2017, 799 people were killed and 38,900 people were injured in work zone crashes. Work zone crashes are defined as taking place within the boundaries of a work zone or on an approach to or exit from a work zone due to activities, behaviors, or controls related to traffic moving through the boundaries of a work zone.

Of the 799 fatalities:

  • 499 were in construction zones
  • 233 were in work zones of unknown type
  • 56 were in maintenance zones
  • 11 were in utility zones

Work zone deaths reached a high in 2002, at 1,186. The fewest work zone deaths occurred in 2010, with 586. Since 2010, work zone deaths have increased 36%.

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Fatality data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows an average of 55 worker-pedestrians a year are killed after being struck by vehicles in work zones.

This estimate using BLS Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) data is not fully comparable with the other National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data presented on this page. NHTSA data is limited to crashes on public roadways, while BLS worker fatality estimate includes all work zone incidents, regardless of location.

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The majority of deaths in work zones are drivers of motor vehicles in transport. Vehicles involved in fatal crashes include both those engaged in construction activities as well as those traveling through a construction zone. Work zone deaths by type, from highest to lowest are:

  • Drivers of motor vehicles – 495 deaths (62%)
  • Passengers of motor vehicles – 163 deaths (20%)
  • Pedestrians – 129 deaths (16%)
  • Bicyclists – 8 deaths (1%)
  • Other and unknown – 4 deaths (0.5%)

Work zone death trends vary substantially by state. Use the interactive map to explore state trends by person type from 2009 through 2017.

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How to Use Injury Facts® Charts and Tables

Source: Overall work zone injury and fatality estimates are based on NSC analysis of NHTSA FARS and CRSS data sets. Worker fatality estimates are based on NSC analysis of BLS CFOI data using the pedestrian struck by vehicle in work zone event code.