Nine people have died in work zone car crashes in the first five months of the year on North Carolina roads — and 206 have died since 2016.
This grim toll is a slight increase from this time last year. Through 2021, 29 people died while working in construction zones.
Just as disturbing, there were 6,266 work zone crashes in 2021, an increase of 5 per cent from 2020. But fatalities two years ago were much higher, 42 in total.
“It’s been a public health crisis, clearly, with COVID, but it’s also been a public health crisis on our roads,” Mark Ezzell, director of the North Carolina Governor’s Highway Safety Program, told WRAL-TV in a report broadcast on May 3.
Overall, there have been 206 deaths associated with work zone crashes since 2016, according to data gathered by Ezzell’s agency.
More than half of the work zone crashes in 2021 were caused by speeding or distracted drivers, the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) estimates.
The NCDOT provided the following figures:
- 2021: 6,266 crashes, 2,535 injuries
- 2020: 5,942 crashes, 2,481 injuries
- 2019: 7,029 crashes, 3,043 injuries
“Spring is the season for work zones, repairs or new construction on the road and that is going to require additional awareness on the part of motorists,” Ezzell said.
The NCDOT says nearly 75% of work-zone crashes last year happened during the day.
North Carolina’s Move Over law requires drivers to change lanes or reduce speeds for road crews and emergency responders.