Work zone fatalities rose by nine percent in Texas last year, with distracted driving likely to blame.
Road workers face a dangerous job, with high-speed traffic whizzing often just feet away from them. That is why it is so important for motorists to slow down when driving through work zones. Unfortunately, many drivers don’t appear to be getting the message as fatal work zone traffic accidents have risen considerably both in Texas and nationwide. Those involved in such accidents tend to be more likely to suffer from catastrophic injuries due to the lack of protection they enjoy and the high speeds at which highway accidents tend to occur.
Work zone accidents rising
As Occupation Health & Safety Reports, work zone fatalities in Texas rose nine percent last year to 199. Furthermore, more than 800 people were injured in work zone accidents in the state. The vast majority of work zone deaths, however, don’t involve road workers but rather other road users, such as motorists, motorcyclists, and pedestrians. Only about 4 percent of people killed in work zone accidents are road workers.
Those figures are about in line with national figures. While 2017 U.S. figures on work zone fatalities are not yet available, the Chicago Tribune reports that in 2016 there was a seven percent increase in work zone deaths nationwide. Similarly, about four out every five work zone deaths involves a person who is not a road worker.
Why are work zone deaths up?
Work zone deaths are rising for a variety of reasons. There are more vehicles on the road and gas prices have remained fairly low, which means that there has been an overall increase in traffic. Distracted driving also likely plays a role. Because construction zones demand drivers’ full attention, those who are distracted are far more likely to cause an accident when in work zones.
By law, drivers are required to move over or slow down when going through work zones. The penalty for failing to do so can be as high as $2000 in Texas. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, the most common causes of work zone accidents are speeding and driver inattention. In total, there were more than 27,000 work zone accidents in Texas in 2017.
Personal injury law
An accident, whether it occurs on the road or elsewhere, can be devastating. Medical bills can quickly add up and victims may not be able to return to work for some time. The financial pressures of a serious injury are why those who have been hurt need to contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. In many cases, those who suffer serious or catastrophic injuries have the right to pursue compensation. An attorney can show clients what compensation may be available and how to go about making a claim.