Reducing Work Zone Accidents

Work zone accidents are highly avoidable and preventable, and despite that, the number of fatalities in work zone-related accidents has been on the rise.

Image shows signs on the road

Work zone accidents are highly avoidable and preventable, and despite that, the number of fatalities in work zone-related accidents has been on the rise. In 2018, trucks contributed to 37% of the fatalities in work zones, and in 2020, trucks contributed to 27% of the fatalities in work zones. With trucks forming just 5% of the overall traffic, these numbers are very high and all stakeholders have to direct efforts to reduce this.

In work zones, speeding was a factor in 37% of the accidents involving a fatality in 2020. When a vehicle is speeding, it means that the vehicle is traveling at an unsafe speed for that stretch of the road as determined by experts. Work zones have queues – vehicles lining up due to stoppages or slow movement in stretches of the road. When a driver is speeding and comes up to a queue of cars or vehicles, it is very hard to stop in the time leading to accidents. The solution is to be alert and comply with all signs while being ready to stop at short notice. Speeding in a work zone also means errors while merging into traffic which leads to collisions and fatalities.

How does a fleet enforce compliance with respect to speeding? Most telematics solutions provide speeding compliance as a feature for the fleets to monitor so that they can take necessary action when needed.

Speeding using Maps:

Most video telematics systems, even those with AI on the edge do not have the capability to recognize speed signs on the edge. Such video telematics systems will not give fleet managers the visibility they need into work zone speeding – which is high-risk behavior.

Speeding compliance modules used by fleets use map data to know the speed limit along the path that the vehicle traversed. However, this has a serious limitation. Temporary speed signs such as those at work zones cannot be enforced. Most map services will not know that the speed limit has been changed from 70mph to 55mph because of ongoing work. When a driver goes at the regular speed for that road (in the absence of the work zone), they are in violation of the current temporary speed limit which is lower. The fleet manager will not have a clue about this risky behavior. As bad habits build-up, the fleet manager may be completely unaware of the tendency of some drivers to speed in work zones and they may come to know of it only after some unfortunate incident.

The solution:

Detecting posted speed limit signs using AI on the edge and recognizing the speed limit is the most comprehensive solution for ensuring speeding compliance at all times, including in places where speed limits change or enterprise maps may not be up to date.

When the dash cam can recognize the speed limit in real-time, the fleet manager has peace of mind knowing that no speeding incident will ever go unreported and as such, the fleet manager can intervene and coach drivers as needed if some drivers show a tendency to speed in work zones more than others.

The speeding in a work zone may not even be intentional. Drivers are so used to regular routes and speed limits that they may go faster than the temporary speed limits by force of habit. A timely alert to the driver can be very helpful in making them more aware of the situation, so that they can slow down and adhere to the work zone speed limit.

LightMetrics video telematics service provides speeding compliance at all times since it has the capability to recognize posted speed limits using edge AI. This is particularly important in work zones and other areas where temporary speed limits are put up.

Further, LightMetrics will soon be able to highlight speeding violations in work zones to the fleet managers separately so that they do not have to manually comb through mountains of speeding violations. While all speeding violations are dangerous, those at work zones are particularly dangerous and fleet managers no longer have to comb through data to get to the high-risk behavior that is speeding in work zones.

Fleet managers can coach the drivers who show a tendency to speed in work zones and help them become safer – for themselves and their families, for the fleet, and for society.