Highway construction is meant to keep the roads properly maintained for safety purposes. However, sometimes this road work can cause serious injuries and even death. It is important to be aware of work zone hazards, the dangers posed by these work zones, how to remain safe, and what to do if you or a loved one is involved in an accident in a highway work zone.
Statistics of Highway Work Zone Accidents
According to the Federal Highway Administration, between 1982 and 2014, 24,745 people died in work zone accidents. A report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics further shows that between 2003 and 2014, up to 1,435 workers died after sustaining fatal injuries at road construction sites.
Studies have shown that the major causes of worker fatalities are:
- Backovers/runovers: Almost half of all worker fatalities arise when workers are backed over or run over by mobile equipment or vehicles. Over half of these deaths occur when workers are hit by construction vehicles.
- Collision between mobile equipment/vehicles: This is the second most common cause of construction work zone fatalities.
- Accidents involving construction objects and equipment:This usually occurs when workers are struck by construction objects and equipment.
Work Zone Safety Tips
In some cases, bad driving habits are the cause for road accidents. The following tips can help you and your passengers stay safe while traveling in areas undergoing construction:
- Concentrate on the roadway being careful to avoid distractions like drinking or eating, talking on your phone, or changing the stereo.
- Obey the work zone signage and follow the speed limit posted on the road.
- Drive defensively: Be watchful of how motorists around you are behaving and be ready to react appropriately.
- Switch lanes safely.
- Be watchful for work vehicles, construction workers, and other equipment.
- Follow vehicles from a safe distance: Leave at least 2-3 car lengths between your vehicle and the vehicle before you.
What To Do If You Are Involved in Work Zone Accident
In case you are involved in a work zone accident, here are a few tips you should follow:
- Remain in your vehicle: Without training, work zones can be very dangerous. It’s advised to stay in your vehicle unless there is imminent danger of fire or other hazardous circumstances.
- Call for help: Since government contractors or employees are likely to be involved in road construction accidents, it is necessary to involve the police. Call 911 if you or other passengers need medical attention.
- Pull the car from regular traffic and away from other construction vehicles.
- Take note of hazards or any other information that will help you make your personal injury claim. Take photos of the accident scene and any evidence that will help you get compensated.
- Stay calm and patient: You should not leave or tamper with an accident scene unless you want to be subjected to strict penalties. Wait for law enforcement personnel to arrive. It is also advisable to summon your lawyer to avoid self-incrimination when responding to questions by the police.
The Consequences for Work Zone Accidents
The punishment for breaking the law and causing an accident in a work zone varies depending on the jurisdiction in question. Generally, a driver will be penalized for speeding and for hitting a worker. The onus is upon the injured party or the representative of a person who dies in such an accident to prove that another person’s negligence caused the accident. The damages for work zone accident range from medical expenses, temporary disability, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Work zone accidents can have serious consequences for victims and their families. If you have been involved in a work zone accident, you should consult a personal injury lawyer Milwaukee WI to bring the negligent party to justice and receive compensation.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Hickey & Turim SC for their insight into accident and personal injury cases.