Over the past decade or so, there has been a concerted effort on the part of legislators and law enforcement alike to educate people about the dangers inherent in driving through construction work zones. The accident numbers have been encouraging, too, with both general traffic accidents and accidents in work zones down quite a bit since their pre-2007 numbers. This is encouraging news, because it means that not only has the decreased saved workers' lives, but the overall trend toward safer driving has prevented thousands of deaths and injuries.
The accident rate is picking back up, though, and it is worth taking some time to review your risks in light of that, whether you are working in construction zones or just driving through them.
The surprising numbers on work zone fatalities
The first thing to note is that while there are thousands and thousands of fatal crashes each year, there are relatively few in work zones in general. The Federal Highway Administration's numbers only report between 500 and 700 for several years, and while there is a slight trend up, the relative rarity compared to fatal accidents overall is encouraging. So are some of these other facts:
- Worker fatalities only accounted for 15 percent of all fatalities in these accidents.
- 41 percent involved rear-end collisions.
- 65 percent occurred during the day, when workers were present.
- Alcohol and lack of seatbelt use were each a factor in 25 percent of the accidents.
- Urban work zones accounted for 43 percent of all accidents even though they only account for around 5 percent of all highway mileage.
What this means is that you are at most risk if you drive frequently in work zones, or you work in them. This can happen if you have a daily commute that takes you through high-risk construction areas. It also shows that you can take steps to mitigate your accident risk, because rear-end collisions are most often preventable. All it takes is leaving a little extra space between yourself and other drivers.
If you are hurt in an accident
If you get hurt in an accident that happens in a construction work zone and it was not your fault, then you could have a case for compensation for your medical bills. The only way to know for sure is to consult with an experienced accident attorney who can help you understand whether or not you should move forward.
If you have been seriously hurt in an accident, call an attorney today to learn more about your legal options.