Motor Vehicle Accidents in Roadway Construction Zones and a Traffic Control Coordinator’s Responsibilities for Driver’s Safety

Motor vehicle accidents in roadway construction zones are not atypical occurrences. Often, a driver approaching an appropriately signed and set-up roadway construction zone fails to realize that the driving environment has changed – sometimes radically – and fails to appropriately adjust their driving behavior to safely navigate the construction zone. However, occasionally, traffic control devices and warning devices such as signs are not placed according to MUTCD, or other state or agency mandated standards, or what were once appropriately placed traffic control devices have fallen into a state of disrepair after being subjected to repeated strikes by passing traffic. Disarrayed traffic control devices confuse drivers and cause unsafe spatial relationships between moving vehicles. Driver confusion and close-quarter operation of vehicles within deficient construction zone set-ups are often the secondary and tertiary contributing factors of motor vehicle accidents in roadway construction zones.

In substantial NJDOT roadway construction projects, the resident engineer (RE) in charge of the roadway constriction project is responsible for drivers’ safety as those drivers pass through the construction zone and the RE is responsible for the designation of a member of the project staff as the person responsible for the implementation and maintenance of the project’s traffic control plan. The Traffic Control Coordinator (TCC) is a full-time, supervisory level position who must be available on a 24-hour a day, 7-days a week basis, who is responsible for the implementation and maintenance of the traffic control plan. NJDOT assigns a minimum of 14 specific duties and responsibilities to the TCC. One responsibility is the completion of a daily inspection and documentation of the placement and maintenance of the construction zone traffic control devices and the maintenance of lightbulbs, message signs, and other similar equipment affixed to traffic control devices associated with driver safety in the construction zone.

Properly designated TCCs must complete the Rutgers CAIT Traffic Control Coordinator Program or an equivalent course approved by NJDOT’s Office of Capital Project Safety. The TCC must complete an approved TCC refresher course every two years.

Motor vehicle accidents occurring in roadway construction zones are complex events. We at Westfield Investigative Group, LLC, are Rutgers CAIT trained and holders of current Rutgers CAIT TCC certification. We are experienced in the investigation of motor vehicle accidents occurring in roadway construction zones and is aware of the TCC’s duties and responsibilities.