Drivers navigate highway construction work zones every day. Heavily traveled roads require maintenance and upgrades: being widened, repaired, or repaved. Unfortunately, road work often creates confusion and frustration on our nation’s roads. According to data released by the National Work Zone Safety Information Clearinghouse, dangerous road construction zones cause tens of thousands of crashes, injuries and fatalities every year.
Work Zone Injury Statistics
94,000 motor vehicle accidents occurred in road work zones in 2017, according to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA – part of the U.S. Department of Transportation). 25,000 of these involved injuries, and 37,000 people were injured due to construction zone accidents.
Road Construction Crash Fatalities
There were 799 motor vehicle accidents fatalities in highway work zones during 2017, a two percent increase from the 2016 total of 782 fatalities.
Only 20 percent of the fatalities in vehicle collisions on road construction sites are the construction workers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, those deaths are caused primarily by runovers/backovers, vehicle collisions, and being caught between or struck by construction equipment.
80 percent of those killed in construction zone accidents are drivers or passengers in non-construction vehicles.
Common Causes of Road Construction Collisions
Most road construction collisions break down into three types of accidents: rear-end collisions, sideswipes, and collisions with stationary objects such as barriers or signs.
25 percent of fatal work zone accidents involve speeding. Other driver-related factors include distractions (i.e., texting), inattentive driving, and aggressive driving. The most common type of work zone crash is a rear-end collision, usually caused by inadequate following distance (i.e., tailgating).
Driving Safely in Road Construction Zones
The FHWA offers these tips for driving safely in and construction zones:
- Take a moment to plan your route: Check your traffic apps, and listen to traffic info on the radio. Construction zones change often, and the road you took yesterday may look different today.
- Buckle up: Wearing your seatbelt is the best way to protect yourself if you do crash.
- Don’t drive distracted: Your texts and phone calls can wait. When you are driving through a work zone, you have less room to maneuver around other vehicles, especially large trucks. Put down the phone and pay attention.
- Don’t tailgate, and don’t speed: Keep a safe distance from the vehicle ahead of you and follow the speed limits; speeding and tailgating are the top causes of work zone fatalities.
- Obey warning signs and road crews: They’re there for a reason, which is to help everyone on the road move safely.
- Stay calm and drive on: Construction zone workers are improving the road and so your future drive will be smoother. Be patient.
TorkLaw – Road Construction Accident Attorneys
TorkLaw auto accident lawyers specialize in representing car accident victims who have been injured because of hazardous road conditions.
If you’ve been injured in a work zone car crash, you may be entitled to seek compensation. If the construction company was negligent, it can be held liable — as can government entities responsible for the construction, and other drivers, if their actions caused the accident. Contact the TorkLaw team for a free consultation with an attorney with our law firm, who can offer you the best legal advice.