Colorado Work Zone Deaths Skyrocket in 2017

April 13, 2018

A recent report says work zone fatalities in Colorado have skyrocketed.

The Gazette reports a study by the Colorado Department of Transportation says the 2017 death toll in work zones was 15, compared with seven in 2016 and 2015 and eight in 2014.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration (FHA), 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. The FHA reports the leading cause of death in the road and bridge construction sector are run overs, back overs and falls.

No Colorado Department of Transportation worker was killed in a work zone in 2017. The department already has had an employee, maintenance operator Nolan Olson, die in a work zone this year.

The American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) reports that over the past five years, over 3,300 people—including an estimated 650 workers—have been killed nationally in work zone crashes, with distracted driving blamed directly for at least 500 of the deaths, according to government data. More than 35,000 people annually are injured at these work sites.

This week is National Work Zone Awareness Week (April 9-13).

TOTAL WORK ZONE FATALITIES by transportation mode*

2016 2015 % Change
Total 765 712 7%
Drivers and passengers 635 595 7%
Pedestrians and bicyclists 125 113 11%
Others
Occupant of a Non-Motor Vehicle Transport Device and Persons on Personal Conveyances
5 4 25%