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Can We Reduce Crashes In Construction Zones?

July 4th 2022

It is no secret that construction/work zones are areas of increased risk for motor vehicle accidents. Construction/work zone safety is a motor vehicle safety issue of the upmost importance. The National Safety Council reported that 857 people were killed and 44, 240 people were injured in work zone crashes in 2020. Of the 857 fatalities, 479 were in construction zones, 314 were in work zones of unknown type, 56 were in maintenance zones, and 8 were in a utility zone [1].

This notion has led some states to try and implement new measures to combat construction area crashes. In Kentucky in 2019, the state started using orange striping for Interstate 75, however results of the small test were inconclusive as speeds with the orange striping barely differed from nearby control areas. Crash data showed that the total number of crashes increased when orange pavement markings were installed – but with a large decrease in wet and nighttime crashes [2]. In North Texas, experimenting with orange striping resulted in 61% of motorists surveyed indicating that the orange raised their awareness that they were in a work zone [1].

Recently, California traffic engineers have started using orange pavement markings during construction to add carpool lanes on a four-mile segment of Interstate 5 north of San Diego. The orange pavement markings are being used to frame the existing white dashes, leaving the normal striping alone, and using the orange as a contrast [1]. The effectiveness of the striping and colour scheme will be tracked by video monitoring and assessments of the paint’s brightness and reflective properties as time passes [1].


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