Cover Image

Not for Sale



View/Hide Left Panel
Click for next page ( 94


The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement



Below are the first 10 and last 10 pages of uncorrected machine-read text (when available) of this chapter, followed by the top 30 algorithmically extracted key phrases from the chapter as a whole.
Intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text on the opening pages of each chapter. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

Do not use for reproduction, copying, pasting, or reading; exclusively for search engines.

OCR for page 93
SECTION V--DESCRIPTION OF STRATEGIES Vehicle size: Lane width and placement and height of barriers should accommodate the larger vehicles. Turning: Intersection corners should account for both the minimum turning radii of large trucks and the off-tracking of the wheels. See the heavy-truck guide (Volume 13 in this series) for strategies for improving heavy-truck safety in more detail. Key References Chadda, H.S., and H.W. McGee, "Pedestrian Considerations in Work Zones." ITE Journal. Institute of Transportation Engineers. September 1984. Federal Highway Administration, Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD). Washington, D.C. 2003. Florida DOT, Florida Bicycle Facilities Planning and Design Handbook. July 1999. http://www.dot.state.fl.us/Safety/ped_bike/ped_bike_standards.htm#Florida%20Ped%20 Handbook. Florida Pedestrian Facilities Planning and Design Handbook. April 1999. http://www.dot.state.fl.us/safety/ped_bike/ped_bike_standards.htm. New York State DOT, "Maintenance and Protection of Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety." Engineering Instruction 01-019. http://www.dot.state.ny.us/cmb/consult/eib/ files/ei01019.pdf. Washington State DOT, Washington State Technology Transfer. Issue 85. Winter 2005. http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/TA/T2Center/T2Bulletin-archives/2004-05winter.pdf. Objective 19.1 D--Improve Driver Compliance with Work Zone Traffic Controls Good compliance with traffic laws and regulations in work zones is essential to maintaining a high level of safety and orderly, efficient traffic flow. Frequent and visible enforcement is generally accepted as highly effective in gaining compliance with traffic laws and regulations in work zones. Enforcement issues include how and where work zone enforcement is most effective, as well as the administrative arrangements needed to ensure that adequate enforcement is available when needed. Adding to the effectiveness of adequate enforcement are increased penalties for work zone violations. Finally, drivers need to have a high level of respect for work zone laws and regulations, which can be achieved by maintaining driver credibility for regulations posted in work zones. The physical presence of a law enforcement officer in the work zone is the most effective way to maximize compliance. This should be considered prior to commencement of a project in order to better plan for the associated costs. Design of the work zone should accommodate space needed for enforcement activities in order to make the activities safer and more efficient. V-79

OCR for page 93
SECTION V--DESCRIPTION OF STRATEGIES 19.1 D1--Enhance Enforcement of Traffic Laws in Work Zones (T) General Description Enforcement of traffic laws in work zones can be enhanced using four key methods: Targeted conventional enforcement, Automated enforcement, Improved efficiency of enforcement, and Improved administrative procedures for work zone police services. Targeted Conventional Enforcement Targeted conventional enforcement in work zones, where officers present in the work zone enforce speed limits and other traffic laws, can help improve the safety in the work zone by reducing the occurrence of violations and increasing driver awareness of the work zone. Though a direct correlation to a reduction in fatal crashes cannot be made, it can be expected that increased enforcement will lead to a reduction in speeds and a safer work zone for both drivers and workers. Evidence suggests that the effect of the enforcement (i.e., the reduction in violations) does not last long after enforcement ends unless a pattern of targeted enforcement occurs over a period of time. Coordination among transportation agencies, law enforcement agencies, and traffic courts in the jurisdiction is important to the success of this strategy. Refer to Volume 5 of this series (the guide for unsignalized intersections), for additional details on providing targeted enforcement. EXHIBIT V-23 Police Enforcement During Night Work Targeted Enforcement V-80

OCR for page 93
SECTION V--DESCRIPTION OF STRATEGIES Automated Enforcement Automated enforcement of traffic laws is increasingly common in the United States, and there are opportunities to use this technology in work zones. Automatic speed enforcement systems, in particular, would be appropriate for work zones, allowing police officers to focus efforts in other areas. Cameras can be placed in locations where targeted enforcement by officers is difficult due to limited space for stopping violators, such as in congested areas, on bridges, in tunnels, or on detours or temporary lanes with challenging geometry. The cameras can be turned on only when the work zones are active and workers are present. Due to institutional issues, however, these systems are not frequently used in work zones. As with automated red-light running enforcement, automated speed enforcement is often viewed by the public as a revenue generator. Some enforcement agencies view the loss of public contact (when providing manual enforcement and writing citations) as a negative reflection of the agency. Other political issues include concerns about how speed limits are set and tolerances in enforcing them. In addition, state traffic laws may need to be changed to allow use of automated enforcement. If these issues can be addressed, it is possible that automated speed enforcement can be implemented and can have a positive effect on work zone safety. A well-designed PI&E campaign can explain the safety-related reasons for using automated enforcement and how traffic laws such as speed limits are set, resulting in increased public support of the cameras. Using the proceeds from fines to purchase items such as safety equipment or to assist injured workers could also help improve public sentiment. Illinois will be using speed cameras in areas designated as "work zones" on major freeways. To improve safety in work zones, Illinois has passed an act for automated traffic control systems in highway construction or maintenance zones (available online at http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=2619&ChapAct=625%26nbsp%3BIL CS%26nbsp%3B7%2F&ChapterID=49&ChapterName=VEHICLES&ActName=Automated+ Traffic+Control+Systems+in+Highway+Construction+or+Maintenance+Zones+Act%2E). Refer to the signalized intersection guide (Volume 12 of this series) for additional details on automated speed and red light enforcement. Improved Efficiency of Enforcement Lack of adequate space for vehicles to pull off of the road often results in inefficient traffic law enforcement through the work zone. Police enforcement in work zones can be difficult where there is not an adequate shoulder or pull-off area for enforcement activities, such as monitoring speeds or pulling over drivers. This difficulty forces the police officer to follow a violator through the work zone. Use of emergency lights while following a vehicle in a work zone may cause a driver to stop in the travel lane and block traffic rather than proceeding through the work zone. Designing space for enforcement activities into a work zone would make police officers' tasks easier and safer. Maintaining adequate shoulder areas to keep them available for making traffic stops free of debris also aids in effective enforcement. Improved Administrative Procedures for Work Zone Police Services Developing administrative procedures at the police and highway agency level can be highly effective in helping to ensure that police services are incorporated where necessary in any V-81

OCR for page 93
SECTION V--DESCRIPTION OF STRATEGIES given work zone. A procedure should be established for a highway agency to request enforcement help from the police agency. These procedures would be useful for working with both state and local law enforcement agencies. On a project level, in order to make efficient use of limited police resources to enforce traffic laws in work zones, the need for police services should be considered in the planning stages of the project. In addition to enforcement activities, incident response activities should be considered. Schrock et al. (2002) conducted a survey of 20 state law enforcement agencies throughout the country. Less than a third of the respondents to the survey indicated that their agency was involved in the planning stages of the traffic control plans for the work zone. Additional discussion on developing administrative procedures is provided in Appendix 7. NCHRP Project 3-80 will develop guidelines for applying law enforcement strategies for work zones on high-speed roadways. EXHIBIT V-24 Strategy Attributes for Enhancing Enforcement of Traffic Laws in Work Zones (T) Attribute Description Technical Attributes Target This strategy targets traffic law violators in work zones. Crashes of all types may result from various violations. Speeding is an obvious concern in work zones, and rear-end crashes would be a common crash type related to speeding (as well as to tailgating). This strategy is applicable to all work zones. Administrative procedures would need to be developed only once and then could be applied to all work zones. Work zones short in length or duration may not need space for enforcement activities designed into them, but enforcement can be an element of any work activity. Expected Effectiveness Previous research has shown that the presence of police in a work zone is associated with a small but measurable reduction in the speed of motorists, but that this effect does not remain long after enforcement has ended. While research has not conclusively proven that improving the efficiency of police enforcement reduces fatal and severe crashes in work zones, it can be assumed that enforcement will have some positive effect on crash rates, at least while the enforcement is occurring. Improving conventional enforcement, implementing and improving automated enforcement, increasing the efficiency of enforcement, and implementing administrative procedures that facilitate the presence of police should lead to an even greater reduction in traffic law violations through the work zone. Keys to Success Coordination with law enforcement agencies is the principal key to success. Police presence and enforcement at work zones typically involves one of the following three strategies: stationary, traffic controller, or mobile (Schrock et al., 2002). In the case of stationary enforcement, police officers are stationed within their patrol car within the work zone or within a reasonable distance in advance of the work zone. In the case of traffic controller enforcement, police direct traffic from outside their vehicles. This strategy is less common than the other two strategies. Mobile enforcement involves police officers circulating back and forth within the zone. Previous work seems to indicate that the stationary strategy is more effective than the mobile strategy in reducing speeds (Benekohal et al., 1992). V-82

OCR for page 93
SECTION V--DESCRIPTION OF STRATEGIES EXHIBIT V-24 (Continued) Strategy Attributes for Enhancing Enforcement of Traffic Laws in Work Zones (T) Attribute Description If shoulders will not be available during a construction or maintenance project, it is desirable to design pullouts into the work area. These pullouts could be used for both enforcement and emergency stops or breakdowns (see http://ops.fhwa.dot.gov/wz/ workshops/sheet1.htm) A pullout length of approximately 0.25 mile is adequate for acceleration and deceleration on high-speed facilities. Though a traditional automated enforcement system (i.e., cameras), specifically one for speed enforcement, may not be suitable for a given work zone, it is possible to employ technology to aid officers in enforcing speeds. A video-based system can capture speeding vehicles and transmit the image to a patrol car downstream of the work zone. The officer can then use this image to stop violators. Automated enforcement would be more appropriate for larger work zones that will last a longer period, due to the system costs and other implementation issues. Kamyab et al. (2003), in their survey, found that states use various criteria in determining the need for police services during work zone operations. Most states use traffic volume and road classification in making this determination and use police services in long-term work zones. Peak congestion, lane closures, night work, risk to construction workers, crash history, work zone speeds, special events, and inclusion in a safety corridor are other factors being considered. Potential Difficulties Construction or maintenance activities may conflict with enforcement activities, mainly with respect to the space needed to perform each activity. Officers need shoulders or pullouts for stopping vehicles, and at the same time shoulders could be used for construction or maintenance activities. Shoulders may be of insufficient width for stopping or may not be present on the temporary roadway. A balance between these competing space needs is desirable, and coordination between the highway and police agencies is essential in determining the extent to which each agency will be able to use the space in question. The spacing of pullouts is an important consideration: too many pullouts may interfere with contractor operations, and too widely spaced pullouts are less likely to be useful to police officers. A survey by Ullman et al. (undated) concluded that distances of 2 to 3 miles between pullouts would be a compromise between these conflicting needs. Speed limit "tolerances" can present difficulty in attempting to improve enforcement. If drivers believe they can exceed the posted limit by 5 to 10 mph without being ticketed, they likely will do it. Automated enforcement devices have the potential to malfunction or break in the field. The use of automated enforcement requires careful consideration of maintenance and repair of the equipment. Two other potential difficulties include the availability of adequate police resources to perform enforcement and the legality of speed limit postings so they can withstand court challenges. Appropriate Measures Process measures include the documentation of the number and type of targeted and Data enforcement campaigns put into effect on specific work zones or in specific jurisdictions, the number of projects on which enforcement is considered during design, and the number of jurisdictions (state level or district level) that have established administrative procedures for coordination with law enforcement personnel. V-83

OCR for page 93
SECTION V--DESCRIPTION OF STRATEGIES EXHIBIT V-24 (Continued) Strategy Attributes for Enhancing Enforcement of Traffic Laws in Work Zones (T) Attribute Description Key safety effectiveness measures include crash frequency and severity, by type of crash. It is especially important to identify crashes related to traffic law violations. This information can also help guide enforcement activities. Actual speeds measured in work zones and the number of citations measured in work zones, both before and after an enforcement activity, will provide insight into the effectiveness of the enforcement activities. Traffic volume data are needed to represent exposure. Data on recidivism rates for work zone traffic law violators could help measure the effectiveness of this strategy, as well as provide insight on ways to further improve enforcement procedures. Data on conviction rates and types will provide further insight. Associated Needs PI&E campaigns informing drivers of increased enforcement activities or automated enforcement should accompany these programs. Refer to Strategy 19.1 E1 for additional information. Organizational and Institutional Attributes Organizational, Coordination between highway and enforcement agencies is at the heart of this Institutional and strategy. Once procedures for this coordination are established, they should be Policy Issues communicated throughout the highway agency so that personnel involved with work zones will know the appropriate steps for coordinating enforcement efforts. Discussions between highway and enforcement agencies are needed to determine the most appropriate locations for targeted enforcement activities, speed or red-light running cameras, and work zone shoulders or pullout areas. The FHWA recommends that highway agencies coordinate with law enforcement to develop written polices and guidelines addressing the following (FHWA, 2001): Situations where uniformed police officers are recommended; The work zone traffic control planning process; and Officer pay, work procedures, supervision, and so forth. In some cases, funding for police services can also be channeled through a construction contract. The state of Oklahoma currently has such a system in place. In this case, the contractor pays for the police services and submits the costs (with profit and overhead) as an expense to the highway agency. This allows police services to be acquired at short notice. However, this type of arrangement typically will be more expensive due to contractor overhead and profits (Bryden and Mace, 2002). Refer to Engineering Instruction 93-30: Dedicated Police Services on Department Construction Projects (available online at http://www.dot.state.ny.us/cmb/consult/eib/files/ ei93030.pdf). Issues Affecting The implementation time for the various aspects of this strategy should be relatively Implementation Time short. Once an administrative procedure is in place, efforts to coordinate with police agencies for enforcement in specific work zones should be an ongoing effort. Installation of automated enforcement systems could take some time, since testing of the system will be necessary. If legislation needs to be passed in order to implement automated enforcement, the process could take significantly longer. Consideration of work zone design elements that make enforcement activities safer and more efficient will not add significant time to the design of a work zone and its traffic control plan, if considered during the planning and design stages of a project rather than after these steps are completed. Availability of funding for providing enforcement could potentially V-84

OCR for page 93
SECTION V--DESCRIPTION OF STRATEGIES EXHIBIT V-24 (Continued) Strategy Attributes for Enhancing Enforcement of Traffic Laws in Work Zones (T) Attribute Description affect implementation time. This is another reason for the inclusion of law enforcement agencies in the earliest stages of planning the work zone activity. Insufficient funding for the components of this strategy will likely result in slower implementation. Costs Involved Targeted conventional enforcement in work zones may involve higher costs than in non-work-zone areas, since highway agencies often fund enforcement activities at overtime rates for officers and reimburse the law enforcement agencies for supervision, patrol cars, and other related services. Although the use of officers working on overtime for enforcement in work zones is more expensive, it provides greater flexibility in deployment and more focused targeting of problem areas. The cost of an automated enforcement system may be significant. Designing and constructing enforcement areas into work zones would involve nominal additional costs. Development of administrative procedures will take some effort, but costs associated with this will be balanced by the efficiencies gained in having a previously established procedure each time the highway agency needs to coordinate with the police agency for enforcement activities in a work zone. Example funding mechanisms may include state and/or federal money provided within the construction contract; state and/or federal money provided through a statewide umbrella program; and state and/or local enforcement agency commitment to the effort without any external funding source (i.e., either using additional local funds or working within existing budgets). Training and Other Considering that law enforcement personnel assigned to work zones have a Personnel Needs broader responsibility than just speed enforcement, a training program addressing work zone traffic laws and their enforcement would be useful. Since 1994, the state of New Jersey has developed a unique program through which a unit of 35 officers who are dedicated to work zone enforcement is maintained (Schrock et al., 2002). This unit coordinates the placing of officers on work zones and supervising other officers who are assigned to work zones on an overtime basis. In addition, officers in this unit: Are certified Occupational Safety Health Administration (OSHA) safety inspectors, Review traffic control plans, Attend work zone planning meetings, and Work with contractors to ensure that the proper traffic control devices are present at work zones. These functions could also be performed by highway agency employees. A recent survey conducted by Kamyab et al. (2003) indicates that several other states--including Maryland, Missouri, South Dakota, Washington, Tennessee, and New Hampshire--have instituted special training programs for law enforcement officers who are assigned to work zones. In response to a recommendation by the National Transportation Safety Board, FHWA is developing a work zone enforcement course for police officers. Legislative Needs Legislation to allow use of automated enforcement may be needed, if it does not already exist in a state. V-85

OCR for page 93
SECTION V--DESCRIPTION OF STRATEGIES EXHIBIT V-24 (Continued) Strategy Attributes for Enhancing Enforcement of Traffic Laws in Work Zones (T) Attribute Description Other Key Attributes Although enforcement of speeds is an important task in many work zones, depending on the needs of a particular work zone project, other enforcement functions could be considered. Following is a list of functions mentioned in NYSDOT's Engineering Instruction 93-30 (NYSDOT, 1993; Bryden and Mace, 2002): Coordinate and provide appropriate police services when an incident occurs. Assist in keeping travel lanes clear of illegally parked or stalled vehicles. Assist in controlling illegal turning movements that restrict capacity at intersections. Assist in directing traffic in congested situations. Assist in traffic control for special construction events, such as bridge steel erection, changes in traffic patterns, and blasting. Provide warning of heavy congested or stopped traffic in advance of problem areas, such as lane closures. Observe and report traffic problems on state highways or detour routes to the appropriate engineering staff. Enforce speed and other restrictions in or near the work zone area. Aid in traffic control during the daily setup and takedown activities for operations that are conducted only during nighttime hours. Preventing intrusions into closed lanes, exits, and so forth. Functions that police perform in other states are summarized by Kamyab et al. (2003). Key References Benekohal, R.F., P.T.V. Resende, and R.L. Orloski, "Effects of Police Presence on Speed in a Highway Work Zone: Circulating Marked Police Car Experiment," Report FHWA-IL/UI- 240, University of Illinois. 1992. Bryden, J.E., and D. Mace, NCHRP Report 476: Guidelines for the Design and Operation of Nighttime Traffic Control for Highway Maintenance and Construction. Transportation Research Board. Washington, D.C. 2002. http://trb.org/news/blurb_detail.asp?id=1023. Federal Highway Administration, "A Study on the Use of Uniformed Police Officers on Federal-Aid Highway Construction Projects: Report of Findings," Report of findings in response to Federal Register notice. FHWA Docket No. FHWA-1999-5387. 2001. http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/fourthlevel/nwzaw/toc.htm. Kamyab, A., T. McDonald, B. Storm, and M. Anderson-Wilk, "Effectiveness of Extra Enforcement in Construction and Maintenance Work Zones," Final Report, Report No. MzSWZDI Year 4 Technology Evaluation #1, Center for Transportation Research and Education, Iowa State University, Ames, IA, May 2003. NCHRP Project 3-80. Work Zone Enforcement Effectiveness. Scheduled to begin 2005. New York State DOT, Engineering Instruction 99-033. 1999. http://www.dot.state.ny.us/cmb/consult/eib/files/ei99033.pdf. V-86

OCR for page 93
SECTION V--DESCRIPTION OF STRATEGIES Noel, E.C., C.L. Dudek, O.J. Pendleton, and Z.A. Sabra, "Speed Control Through Freeway Work Zones: Techniques Evaluation," Transportation Research Record 1163, Transportation Research Board, pp. 31-42. 1988. Richards, S.H., R.C. Wunderlich, and C.L. Dudek, "Field Evaluation of Work Zone Speed Control Techniques," Transportation Research Record 1035, Transportation Research Board, pp. 66-78. 1985. Schrock, S.D., G.L. Ullman, and N.D. Trout, "Survey of State Law Enforcement Personnel on Work Zone Enforcement Practices," Transportation Research Record 1818, Transportation Research Board, pp. 7-11. 2002. Ullman, G.L., M.D. Fontaine, and S.D. Schrock, "Creating Enforcement-Friendly Work Zones." Presented at Making Work Zones Work Better Workshop Series. Federal Highway Administration, undated. http://ops.fhwa.dot.gov/wz/workshops/sheet1.htm; PowerPoint presentation with photos available at http://ops.fhwa.dot.gov/wz/workshops/originals/Ullman%20revised%20Feb%20034.ppt. Information on Current Knowledge Regarding Agencies or Organizations That Are Implementing This Strategy CalTrans has an agreement with the California Highway Patrol for enforcement efforts in work zones. The Construction Zone Enforcement Enhancement Program (COZEEP) provides CalTrans with funds for police officers and vehicles. The need for COZEEP must be assessed on all projects where lane closure is planned. Contractors can request additional enforcement support, but it is the contractors, rather than CalTrans, that would fund this additional support. The CalTrans construction manual discusses risk factors that may render COZEEP desirable for a given work zone (http://www.dot.ca.gov/hq/construc/ manual2001/chapter2/chp2_2.pdf). The Maintenance Zone Enforcement Enhancement Program (MAZEEP) is a similar collaborative effort between CalTrans and the California Highway Patrol. New York State DOT has a procedure for coordinating work zone and enforcement activities (NYSDOT, 1993). Refer to Engineering Instruction 93-30: Dedicated Police Services on Department Construction Projects (http://www.dot.state.ny.us/cmb/consult/eib/ files/ei93030.pdf). Illinois is initiating the use of automated enforcement in work zones (http://www.illinois.gov/ PressReleases/ShowPressRelease.cfm?SubjectID=1&RecNum=3304). 19.1 D2--Improve Credibility of Signs (E) General Description "Misinformation" provided to drivers on outdated signing can lead to a lack of respect for all work zone signing. If signs convey credible messages, drivers may be more likely to follow the instructions provided on the signs. Standardized signs and channelizing devices will contribute to successful interpretation by drivers. Sign legends or symbols and channelizing conventions can vary even within V-87

OCR for page 93
SECTION V--DESCRIPTION OF STRATEGIES a state and may not meet MUTCD recommendations. Standardized communication with drivers will remove uncertainty and speed response time for those driving into and through work zones. Types of messages with potential credibility concerns are found on the following types of signs: Speed signs Speed advisories Nonvariable speed limits Variable speed limits Warning signs Work zone Flagger Lane closure Other informational signs Incorrect or nonessential changeable message signs Congestion/delay/queue warnings The following sections provide recommendations for the above types of signs. Because recommendations for speed signs are less commonly available than those for warning signs or other informational signs, the reader may find the information on speed signs more necessary than the information for warning signs or other informational signs. Thus, the speed sign section below is more detailed than the sections on warning signs and other informational signs. Speed Signs Speed Advisories. A common way to inform drivers about work zone conditions is to use advisory supplemental speed signs to inform drivers of the appropriate speeds. Advisory speed plaques supplement warning signs and should be considered before deciding to lower the speed limit. If drivers do not perceive a hazard, they will not reduce their speeds. Similarly, if the advisory speed seems excessively low, drivers will not slow to that speed. Of greater concern, they will lose confidence in other signs where the speed may be realistically posted, thus failing to adhere to the advisory speed where it is particularly important to do so. Test-driving the work zone will help determine if the advisory speed is reasonable (Stidger, 2003). To maintain credibility, the stated speeds should be increased or decreased as actual work conditions change. Nonvariable Speed Limits. According to the MUTCD, if drivers perceive a need to reduce their speed, they will reduce their speed. However, speed limits perceived to be too low can breed noncompliance in drivers. In order to improve compliance with speed limits, work zones should be designed for the desired speed. Existing speeds, work zone design speeds, and the interaction of workers and equipment with traffic are factors to consider when determining work zone speed limits. The speed limit should not be significantly lower than what drivers expect; otherwise, drivers will lose respect for the limit (McGee et al., 1988). Work zone reduced speed limit signs should also be placed reasonably close to the work area to which they apply. V-88

OCR for page 93
SECTION V--DESCRIPTION OF STRATEGIES Since geometric and traffic conditions in the work zone may change frequently, the speed limit should be based on these factors rather than on prevailing speeds, which also may change on a daily basis and are unknown during the design stage. Determination of an appropriate work zone speed limit should include consideration of the existing speed limit, the location of work activities in relation to the travel way, and additional factors such as presence of workers, horizontal alignment, lane width, lateral offsets to objects (e.g., barriers), pavement edge dropoffs, limited stopping sight distance, and traffic congestion caused by a lane closure (Migletz et al., 1993). Speed limit reduction signs should be covered or removed when the condition for which they are posted no longer exists. Variable Speed Limits. Changeable signs can be used to alter the speed limit as conditions in a work zone change (e.g., as workers are present or weather deteriorates). Variable speed limits can be implemented in work zones, but the posted speed should be reasonable, or it will breed driver disrespect as do permanent speed limit signs. If a variable speed limit sign lowers the speed limit because workers or other hazardous conditions are present, the hazards should be evident to drivers. Enforcement agencies need to be informed of changes in the speed limit in order to effectively provide speed limit enforcement and to document the speed limit that is in place when the citation is issued. Warning Signs If warning signs are posted a significant amount of time before work starts, left up after work is completed, or posted too far in advance of a work zone, drivers may begin to believe the signs are not correct and may disregard the warnings. EXHIBIT V- 25 "Workers Present" Sign in Tennessee V-89

OCR for page 93
SECTION V--DESCRIPTION OF STRATEGIES For example, an active work zone sign ("Lights Flashing When Workers Present") with flashing lights can alert drivers to the possibility of encountering workers or equipment near the roadway, but if drivers repeatedly see the sign on but do not see any workers, they will doubt its validity. Indiana found that a reduced speed limit implemented when workers were present was not obeyed for the entire length of a work zone when work was occurring in only a small section of the work zone (FHWA Work Zone Safety and Mobility Program Best Practices website, http://ops.fhwa.dot.gov/wz/practices/best/view_document.asp?ID=150&from=crossref& Category_ID=18). Ensuring that signs communicate accurate information and realistic regulations and warnings should encourage drivers to follow them. Other Informational Signs Signs that provide drivers with information on downstream traffic conditions can increase driver awareness of work zones, queues, and other conditions. As with changeable message signs used for non-work-zone applications, incorrect or unnecessary information can be expected to contribute to driver disregard for the information on the signs. A changeable message sign with a work zone warning on it that is not cleared when the work zone is removed can lead drivers to question the validity of messages they see in the future. Key References Federal Highway Administration. Work Zone Safety and Mobility Program Best Practices website: http://ops.fhwa.dot.gov/wz/practices/best/view_document.asp?ID= 150&from=crossref&Category_ID=18. McGee, H.W., D.B. Joost, and E.C. Noel, "Speed Control at Work Zones." ITE Journal. Institute of Transportation Engineers. January 1988. Migletz, J., J.L. Graham, and D.W. Harwood, "Procedure for Determining Work Zone Speed Limits." Compendium of Technical Papers. Institute of Transportation Engineers. 1993. Stidger, R.W., "How MnDOT Sets Speed Limits for Safety." Better Roads. November 2003. http://www.betterroads.com/articles/nov03a.htm. Transportation Research Board, NCHRP Research Results Digest 192: Procedure for Determining Work Zone Speed Limits. 1996. 19.1 D3--Improve Application of Increased Driver Penalties in Work Zones (T) General Description Traffic violations in work zones present a dangerous condition for both the highway users traveling through the work zone and the workers within the work zone. Violations, such as speeding or failure to obey flagger signals, are often a factor in crashes in the work zone. V-90

OCR for page 93
SECTION V--DESCRIPTION OF STRATEGIES One method for reducing violations of traffic laws is to enforce work zone laws and make penalties and fines significant enough to be a deterrent and to encourage the judiciary to apply the penalties consistently. Improving the application of increased fines in work zones through more frequent visible enforcement activities will help change driver perception about the likelihood of being cited for violations. In addition to the possibility of being cited a large fine, the driver also needs to perceive that the fine will be large and the sanction will be upheld by the courts. Otherwise, the sanction will be reduced to the inconvenience of the court visit. Forty-five states currently impose increased penalties for speed violations in work zones, and in some states those increased fines apply to all types of violations. Studies show that many drivers continue to violate the work zone speed limits in spite of these increased fines. Using a consistent approach to enforcing work zone traffic laws and adjudicating citations is a way to curb this trend. This approach requires the cooperation of the judiciary and can be facilitated by encouraging a partnership and making sure that judges understand the importance of this strategy for saving lives. Specific examples of increased penalties implemented by states include: Increased fines, Short-term suspension of the driver's license for speeding in a work zone, Increased points applied to the driving record for work zone speeding, and Jail time for causing the death of a worker. These examples are discussed below under the "Information on Current Knowledge Regarding Agencies or Organizations That Are Implementing This Strategy" heading. EXHIBIT V-26 Combination Sign for Increased Fine and Worker Safety Awareness V-91

OCR for page 93
SECTION V--DESCRIPTION OF STRATEGIES EXHIBIT V-27 Strategy Attributes for Improving Application of Increased Driver Penalties in Work Zones (T) Attribute Description Technical Attributes Target This strategy principally targets drivers who violate the law. It is intended to reduce all types of crashes caused in part by violations of traffic laws in work zones, such as speeding or failure to obey flagger signals. This strategy is applicable to all work zones. Work zone traffic law enforcement can be performed as part of regular traffic law enforcement activities, and dedicated programs may be desirable for larger, long-term work zones. Expected Effectiveness The effectiveness of improving the application of driver fines and penalties in an effort to increase work zone safety has been studied, and the results of the studies vary. However, general trends exist. While policies of increased fines and other penalties are very popular (45 states have adopted such legislation), the policy seems to do little to reduce speeds or fatalities through the work zone (Ullman et al., 2000). The effectiveness of this strategy can be improved by using a consistent and visible approach to enforcing work zone traffic laws and adjudicating citations that result in drivers believing that they will receive citations and fines for violations. An Oregon DOT survey showed that 79 percent of drivers responding to the survey reported that double fine signs in work zones influenced their choice of speed either "a lot" or "some" (Jones et al., 2002). Increased fines in work zones (and signing to this effect) can be effective in increasing driver awareness of hazards in work zones. Although the effectiveness of the strategy in reducing violations may not be significant, increased awareness of work zone safety issues could be enough of a benefit for states to pursue this strategy. Keys to Success Identifying keys to success for this strategy is somewhat elusive because the strategy has not been implemented with significant success. Evaluating potential reasons for failure, however, allows for speculation of what may generate successful implementation in the future. Observed reasons for lack of effectiveness include the following: 1. Lack of Credibility Given to Work Zone Speed Limits. The intent of the increased driver penalties is primarily to reduce crashes by reducing excessive speeds in the work zone, but at most of the sites examined, the increased fines had little effect on speeds. Regardless of whether the limits were regulatory or advisory, the motoring public generally did not view the work zone speed limits as credible. The Oregon DOT study reviewed literature regarding increased penalties for work zones and other violations (Jones et al., 2002). The results suggest that violations do not decrease significantly if drivers do not perceive a threat of being cited. 2. Little Change in Enforcement and/or Court Dismissals. Because the majority of drivers ignore work zone fine increases, one would expect more revenue to be generated as more citations were issued. However, the studies found little difference in revenue before and after the implementation of increased work zone driver fines. This finding indicates that either traffic laws are not being enforced in work zones or the judicial systems are not imposing the increased fines. Given these reasons for failure, it seems that the following actions could help: (1) fines and penalties in the areas studied need to be more severe to fully deter work zone traffic violations, (2) strict enforcement of the increased driver fines in work zones should be implemented in order to cause the motoring public to view the work zone V-92

OCR for page 93
SECTION V--DESCRIPTION OF STRATEGIES EXHIBIT V-27 (Continued) Strategy Attributes for Improving Application of Increased Driver Penalties in Work Zones (T) Attribute Description penalty increase as credible, (3) the cooperation of the judiciary should be sought through meetings and seminars that educate the judiciary on the serious safety problems associated, and (4) judicial discretion should be limited in applying the increased fines. Potential Difficulties Many states have already adopted legislation to increase fines, and this is usually an item popularly supported by legislators, but monitoring and enforcing the legislation consumes extensive resources if done enough to deter violations of traffic laws in work zones. Increased enforcement efforts could create an excessive burden on local judicial systems until driver behavior changes and violations (and therefore citations) decrease. In states where workers must be present in the work zone in order to apply higher penalties for violations, signs with flashing lights ("Workers Present When Flashing") can be used to alert both drivers and police officers to the presence of workers in a work zone. This informs drivers that higher fines will be given for violations, but can also create problems for officers who must verify that the lights are flashing before issuing citations. Increased fines may help to deter speeding in some instances, but they do not invoke the respect or fear that more severe penalties (such as jail time or license revocation) do. Implementation of more severe penalties may not be practical, however, since the courts may be less likely to impose the penalties. Design of work zones should allow for safe and efficient enforcement in work zones. In work zones that have limited space available for pulling over violators, enforcement officers are more reluctant to do so because of the risk of increasing congestion and potentially creating a greater risk of crashes through the work zone Appropriate Measures Process measures include the existence of supporting legislation, degree of law and Data enforcement activity and productivity, and court resolution of appeals. Key safety effectiveness measures include crash frequency and severity, by type of crash. It is especially important to identify crashes related to excessive traffic violations. Citation frequency and the magnitude of the violations (i.e., the number of miles per hour over the speed limit) data are needed to evaluate the increased penalty for safety effectiveness. Traffic volume data are needed to represent exposure. Data on recidivism rates for work zone traffic law violators could help measure the effectiveness of this strategy, as well as provide insight on ways to further improve application of increased fines. Associated Needs The effectiveness of increased fines and penalties is likely to be improved signing informs drivers of the increased fines, a visible enforcement program exists, and the highway agency conducts outreach to members of the judiciary system. Interagency coordination can help communicate the nature of work zone safety concerns and the needs for enforcement and adjudication to emphasize work zone safety. South Carolina DOT has traffic safety meetings to which magistrates, attorneys, contractors, contractor associations, police officers, city officials, and others are invited. Some highway agencies attend meetings and conferences with court officials to communicate the importance of upholding fines and penalties for work zone traffic law violations. There may be several sections of the law under which work zone traffic citations can be written, and if the correct section is not used, a citation can be thrown out in court. Education efforts for officers enforcing traffic laws may be needed. V-93

OCR for page 93
SECTION V--DESCRIPTION OF STRATEGIES EXHIBIT V-27 (Continued) Strategy Attributes for Improving Application of Increased Driver Penalties in Work Zones (T) Attribute Description Improved enforcement in work zones and credible signs are needed for successful implementation of this strategy. Refer to Strategies 19.1 D1 and 19.1 D2. Use of the media to advertise enforcement programs and consequences increases the visibility and can influence effectiveness. A PI&E campaign to emphasize increased enforcement and judicial activities could have a positive influence in speed reduction through work zones. In addition, if legislation allowing for increased penalties is new, information will need to be provided to the public on what this means to them, such as when increased enforcement will begin and the details on the increased fines. Organizational and Institutional Attributes Organizational, Coordination within the highway agency--as well as with enforcement, judicial, and Institutional and licensing agencies--is necessary for the successful implementation of this strategy. Policy Issues Establishment of and commitment to an enforcement program; a commitment from courts to impose increased penalties; and efforts by licensing agencies to collect information on violations, penalties, and recidivism are needed to ensure success of this strategy. Policies and enforcement should be firm enough to encourage more driver compliance. Issues Affecting Implementation of this strategy may take a moderate amount of time, and if new Implementation Time legislation is needed to allow for increased penalties, a significant amount of time may be required (widespread support of a bill to increase fines may allow it to pass quickly). Development of enforcement programs and training of law enforcement personnel will add to implementation time, as will coordination with courts and driver licensing agencies. Costs Involved The issues listed above that will affect implementation time will also affect costs involved in implementing the strategy, including increased public education on any new laws passed, though costs will be relatively low once the program is implemented. Increased enforcement would be expected to lead to increased citations, which in turn would increase court costs. Ideally, at least some of these costs would be offset by the increased fines. The costs will also depend on the extent to which enforcement efforts are increased. Targeting every work zone full time will not be practical, but a higher frequency and level of enforcement (i.e., number of officers) will result in higher costs. Agencies can apply for grants from NHTSA for work zone enforcement programs. Highway agencies can provide supplementary funding for increasing work zone enforcement. An example of an agency that does this is the Oregon DOT. Training and Other Increased penalties and fines would need to be discussed in training and/or Personnel Needs communications with police officers and judicial system personnel. Programs would be needed to improve the applications of increased fines, such as enforcement campaigns. Legislative Needs If current laws prohibit increased fines in work zones, agencies will need to work with legislators to change these laws. In states where this policy is mandated through legislation, the aforementioned notes under Organizational, Institutional and Policy Issues should apply. V-94

OCR for page 93
SECTION V--DESCRIPTION OF STRATEGIES EXHIBIT V-27 (Continued) Strategy Attributes for Improving Application of Increased Driver Penalties in Work Zones (T) Attribute Description In the section below entitled "Information on Current Knowledge Regarding Agencies or Organizations That Are Implementing This Strategy," several examples are provided citing legislative measures aimed at controlling speed in work zones. While no data are yet available regarding the effectiveness of such measures, the approaches certainly seem to be aggressive and may be of interest to other legislators. Other Key Attributes Compatibility of This strategy is compatible with other strategies in this guide, especially 19.1 D1 Different Strategies (Enhance Enforcement of Traffic Laws in Work Zones), 19.1 D2 (Improve Credibility of Signs), and 19.1 E1 (Disseminate Work Zone Safety Information to Road Users). Increased fines and improved application of increased fines may add to the success of other strategies discussed in this guide. Key References Jones, B., A. Griffith, and K. Haas, Effectiveness of Double Fines as a Speed Control Measure in Safety Corridors. Report No. FHWA-OR-DF-01-10. Oregon DOT. 2002. http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/TD/TP_RES/docs/Reports/EffectDoubleFines.pdf. Pratt, S.G., D.E. Fosbroke, and S.M. Marsh, Building Safer Highway Work Zones: Measures to Prevent Worker Injuries from Vehicles and Equipment. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. 2001. http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/2001128.html. Ullman, G.L., P.J. Carlson, and N.D. Trout, "Effect of the Work Zone Double Fine Law in Texas." Transportation Research Record 1715. Transportation Research Board. Washington, DC. 2000. Information on Current Knowledge Regarding Agencies or Organizations That Are Implementing This Strategy Pennsylvania has implemented a penalty program that will suspend a driver's license for 15 days if the driver exceeds the work zone speed limit by 11 mph or more. Michigan uses a "point system" in which licenses are restricted, suspended, and/or revoked (depending on the number of violations) when the maximum point reduction threshold is exceeded. The point reductions are increased for work zone speeding. Michigan has also passed legislation ("Andy's Law") that applies a penalty of 1 year in prison for drivers who hit a construction worker and up to 15 years in prison for killing a construction worker. Ohio requires mandatory jail time for drivers causing injury or death in construction zones. Illinois passed legislation allowing a charge of reckless homicide to be made against speeders who kill construction workers. Illinois has also passed a 14-year prison term and $10,000 maximum penalty for drivers who kill a construction worker. It also has increased V-95