I-17 101 traffic interchange

ADOT: "Work with us on work zone safety

ADOT: "Work with us on work zone safety

April 18, 2023

More than 50 deaths in Arizona work zone-related crashes in past 5 years

PHOENIX – What kind of dangerous driving occurs in a roadway work zone? Consider these real-life instances experienced by Arizona Department of Transportation crews while building, maintaining and improving state highways:

  • A driver sped through orange construction cones, striking a worker who rolled up the hood of the vehicle and onto the windshield.
  • Seeing that a driver nearing a work zone wasn’t paying attention, an ADOT worker yelled for his crewmates to scatter. Seconds later, the driver crashed through cones and into the area where workers had been working.
  • After a vehicle drove into a work zone, it struck an ADOT worker while attempting to turn around and exit the work zone.

These are just a few examples and don’t account for the thousands of other preventable crashes that result in fatalities and serious injuries, as well as close calls, that occur in roadway work zones across Arizona.

The theme of this year’s National Work Zone Awareness Week is “Work With Us” and ADOT is calling on Arizona drivers to do that when they encounter roadway work zones so everyone – motorists and workers – can get home safely.

“Drivers can do two simple things to make work zones safer for everyone: pay attention and slow down,” ADOT Director Jennifer Toth said. “That’s it. Do that and you could save a life, maybe even your own.”

National statistics show that 4 out of 5 victims of work zone crashes were drivers or their passengers. 

“Work zones are designed to keep people safe. Not only the people working there, but also people traveling in vehicles,” added Toth. “If drivers stay alert and slow down, we can avoid many preventable tragedies.”

ADOT staff today (Tuesday) provided media members with a chance to tour a work zone for the ongoing I-10 Broadway Curve Improvement Project, where crews often work behind temporary concrete barrier walls just feet away from nearby speeding freeway traffic. The speed limit within the work zone is 55 mph. 

Arizona work zone crash statistics from law enforcement reports over the past five years include the following:

  • 2018: 17 fatalities, 23 serious injuries
  • 2019: 15 fatalities, 22 serious injuries
  • 2020: 11 fatalities, 23 serious injuries
  • 2021: 13 fatalities, 23 serious injuries
  • 2022: 2 fatalities, 13 serious injuries * (preliminary: all 2022 crash reports not yet analyzed)

It’s important for drivers to slow down and pay attention when approaching and traveling through all work zones, but especially so in areas where workers aren’t able to work behind barrier walls.

ADOT has posted a safety message on a number of its electronic signs along state highways that reads: “Work Zone Safety Week: Give ‘Em a Brake.”