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8 CHAPTER 2 NYSDOT Work Zone Accident Database Analysis Database Description the work zone situation at the time of the crash, whether the vehicle intruded into the workspace, and whether the vehicle In the mid-1980s, the Construction Division of NYSDOT impacted a highway worker are all items not easily obtained initiated a program to compile detailed information on traf- (if available at all) from typical statewide traffic crash records fic crashes and worker construction accidents that occur on systems. It should be noted that statewide statistics on the their construction projects. Since the mid-1990s this proce- amount of day and night work operations each year in New dure has generated reports for nearly all traffic crashes and York were not available to allow development of any type of worker construction accidents, with the reports initiated by crash rate measure. department staff and contractors. These reports are supple- mented by standard police accident reports for many traffic crashes and some worker accidents. NYSDOT maintains a Data Reduction and Analysis detailed database that is used to generate annual reports of Researchers obtained 6 years of NYSDOT work zone inci- work zone accidents, track overall safety trends, and prepare dents (traffic crashes and construction accidents) for calendar special reports addressing specific safety issues. years 2000 through 2005. The majority of projects that in- The entire database is rather extensive. Researchers focused volved night work activity were performed on freeway and on the following variables for analysis: expressway facilities. Therefore, all freeway/expressway work Time of accident occurrence (day or night); zone incidents were first extracted from the full NYSDOT Time when work activities were typically performed (day, database for each year, using a combination of a "highway night, or both); type" data field and extensive knowledge of the New York Facility type; roadway network by a member of the research team. The goal Work zone situation type at the time of the traffic crash of this step was to develop a consistent basis for comparison (flagging, lane closure, mobile operation, etc.); of daytime versus nighttime traffic crashes and construction Accident severity; accidents. Researchers reviewed each incident report to verify Type of traffic crash occurring if applicable (rear-end, side- the accuracy of the codes used in each of the data fields rela- swipe, single vehicle, vehicle intrusion [a passenger vehicle tive to the brief narrative of the accident included in each traveling through the work zone and entering the work- record. In cases of obvious miscoding or where a code was not space], vehicle impact with worker, etc.); provided, researchers reviewed the descriptive narrative of Type of worker construction accident if applicable (falls, the incident and manually inserted the correct code(s). Ulti- equipment accidents, trenching accidents, accidents be- mately, more than 3,400 traffic crashes and construction tween work vehicles and workers, etc.); and accidents over a six-year time period (2000 through 2005) Contributing factors to the traffic crashes (driver inatten- were available for analysis. Table 1 summarizes how these tion, poor driver judgment, etc.). incidents were distributed across traffic crashes and highway worker construction accidents in both daytime and nighttime Generally speaking, accidents occurring between 6 am and working conditions. 6 pm were coded as daytime accidents, and those from 6 pm Researchers then systematically segregated the data accord- to 6 am were coded as nighttime accidents. Information about ing to incident time period (day or night) and typical period