Summer is the busiest time of year for road construction and repairs across the country. Projects that cannot be completed in cold, wet weather are typically done during the summer months. With road repairs popping up across local highways, drivers, pedestrians, and construction workers are at increased risk for dangerous work zone accidents. According to the National Work Zone Safety Information Clearinghouse, there were 700 work zone fatalities in 2015 alone. With a bit of caution and common sense, drivers can protect themselves and roadside workers this summer.
The Data on Work Zone Crashes
After a steady decline every year since 2002, the number of work zone accident fatalities rose 13 percent from 2013 to 2014. In 2014, 116 of those fatalities were highway workers. Nearly half of those wrecks involved multiple fatalities. One-third of fatal work zone crashes in 2014 involved larger commercial vehicles including trucks and busses. There is some good news however. Since 2009, work zone fatalities are down 23 percent overall.
Leading Causes of Work Zone Car Accidents
Work zone crashes are caused by the same behaviors that cause most other car accidents. Distracted driving is currently the leading cause of car accidents in the U.S. Most of those distracted drivers are on the phone. However, a distraction can be anything that takes the driver’s eyes off the road for as little as a few seconds. That includes eating, drinking, changing the radio station, or turning to talk to a passenger. Distracted driving claimed 3,477 lives in 2015.
Excessive speed is to blame in nearly one-third of work zone accident deaths. Roadside work zones usually have decreased speed limits posted, allowing drivers and pedestrians to safely navigate around construction equipment, vehicles, and workers. Drivers that disregard work zone speed limits face steep traffic fines. Drivers under the influence of drugs or alcohol also cause a significant number of work zone crashes every year.
Preventing Work Zone Fatalities
Safe summer traveling starts before the trip even begins. Drivers should allow plenty of time to reach their destination, accounting for summer traffic patterns, detours, and road repair projects. A relaxed driver is less inclined to drive recklessly.
There are several hands-free phone apps that record and report construction work, accidents, and weather hazards in real time, offering drivers alternate routes when available. Finally, to eliminate the major causes of work zone fatalities, drivers simply need to stay alert, obey the speed limit, and drive sober. A distracted, speeding, or intoxicated driver is incapable of avoiding hazards or people in their path.
Columbia Car Accident Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Recover Compensation for Victims of Work Zone Accidents
Work zones are extremely dangerous, especially during the heavily-traveled summer months. If you have been injured in a work zone car accident, Columbia car accident lawyers at the law firm Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. can help. Contact us at 866-881-8623 or 803-929-3600 to help obtain the benefits you deserve and need to cover medical expenses and lost income. You can also contact us online to arrange a free consultation at one of our South Carolina offices.
We represent injured workers and their families in Lexington County, Richland County, Sumter County, Aiken County, Florence County, Lancaster County, York County, Orangeburg County, Kershaw County, Newberry County including those in the towns of Columbia, Lexington, Irmo, Chapin, Rock Hill, Aiken, Sumter, Newberry, Florence, and Spartanburg.