A construction worker was killed after a vehicle struck him while he was placing construction cones along the highway entrance ramp his work crew was assigned to. It is a sad reality that regardless of posted construction-related signs and warnings, work zones continue to be hotspots for traffic accidents.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 671 fatal accidents occurred in work zones across the country in 2018; of these, 125 were worker-related fatalities. Among these nationwide accidents, Texas ranks as the worst state for work zone-related fatalities. Over a 15-year period between 2003-2017, 218 Texas workers were killed on the job, suggesting a statewide problem regarding drivers and work zone safety.
Work Zones in Numbers
Chances are if you’ve spent any amount of time on roads and highways across the state of Texas, you have encountered a work zone. Work zones refer to areas of construction taking place on and/or near any given stretch of road. The Texas Department of Transportation or TxDOT reports that at any given moment, there are at least 3,000 active work zones across the 80,000 miles of Texas roadways. In 2018, there were 25,162 work zone traffic accidents – or about 70 accidents per day – in work zones across the state.
Common Causes of Work Zone Accidents
The over 25,000 work zone accidents annually in the state of Texas proves there is a need for increased safety measures regarding roadway construction areas. Many of the top causes of work zone accidents are preventable if drivers abide by traffic laws and follow posted signage in work zone areas.
Far too often we hear of fatal crashes that could have been prevented if the driver paid adequate attention to their driving, the road, and its conditions. Distracted driving behaviors – including talking on the phone, texting, eating, scrolling social media and adjusting the radio – remain among the top problematic daily occurrences on roadways across the state and country. These reckless choices are responsible for thousands of preventable serious injuries and deaths each year in Texas.
Disobeying Traffic Signs
Traffic signs are not mere suggestions for driver behavior. Drivers who disregard speed limit and construction zone signage are actively ignoring state laws and putting others’ lives at risk. Traffic signs signal a change to drivers in the path ahead; and, for drivers and passengers traveling through work zones, paying attention could mean the difference between life and death for not only the occupants of their vehicle but for all present in construction zones. When a work zone causes one side of the road to shut down, it becomes a one-way street where workers commonly flag drivers by. If a driver does not adjust their speed or driving and fails to yield to construction workers or another vehicle, the result could be catastrophic.
As is the case in many types of motor vehicle accidents, speeding is also a top cause of work zone accidents. When drivers speed, they decrease their ability to control the vehicle and increase the probability of losing control, rear-ending another car, or colliding with an outside force like a work zone barrier.
Protecting Texas Workers
All workers, regardless of industry, have the right to wake up and go to work and return home safely, free of harm. When drivers fail to responsibly maneuver their vehicles, disobeying traffic signs and construction zone warnings, they put workers’ lives at risk. If you or a loved one was killed or seriously injured in a work zone accident due to a driver’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact us today for a free case consultation.