The National Work Zone Awareness Week (NWZAW) campaign runs in spring of every year. This event was created in 1997 with the intention of shedding a necessary light on work zone safety while traveling. Although all state departments would love for drivers to travel carefully in work zones at all times of the year, the NWZAW campaign is an event that reminds drivers of work zone safety right around the time that construction projects begin to flourish.
This year’s theme for NWZAW was “Work Zones are a Sign to Slow Down.” Construction projects and road work have commenced, and with that so have risks to workers and drivers. According to federal statistics, four out of five people killed in work zone accidents are drivers or passengers rather than construction workers. The National Work Zone Safety Information Clearinghouse tells us that in 2020 there were 102,000 (estimated) work zone crashes, resulting in approximately 44,000 injuries and 857 fatalities.
Although there are several causes of work zone accidents, there are two primary causes:
- Speeding. Speeding is the leading cause of a majority of traffic accidents, including work zone accidents. In work zones, drivers are required to reduce their speed and adjust accordingly to the many changes surrounding the area. Speeding severely reduces the amount of time that drivers have to safely react to those changes.
- Driver error. Like many traffic accidents, driver error is the main factor that contributes to work zone accidents. Listed below are the primary negligent actions that drivers engage in that cause work zone accidents.
Following too closely
One of the most common work zone accidents is a rear-end collision. Rear-end collisions are mostly created when one vehicle is tailgating, or following too closely behind another vehicle. Rear-end collisions can also be caused when one vehicle is attempting to pass another vehicle, or does the next following negligent action.
Failing to yield
Failing to yield is another negligent action that leads to work zone accidents. Often, drivers who want to avoid following behind commercial trucks will commit this dangerous action and try to cut commercial trucks off. Drivers can also commit this action when upcoming lanes are closed and drivers have to allow other drivers to merge on their own accord. This can result in aggressive driving and other dangerous behaviors that can result in striking other vehicles.
Unsafe lane movement
Unsafe lane movement is one of the common causes of work zone accidents. Although construction workers place traffic signs that warn drivers of upcoming lane closings and changes in traffic, drivers fail to pay attention to the signs and adjust their driving accordingly. Even worse, drivers will cut other drivers off instead of waiting patiently for the other drivers to pass and merge properly. Drivers may also attempt to pass other drivers in a lane that is closed or cut off, putting the lives of other workers in jeopardy.
Who can be held liable for a work zone accident?
In a work zone accident, there are several parties that can be held liable. If you or your loved one were involved in a work zone accident through no fault of your own, these are the different parties that you can hold liable for your injuries.
- The other driver. The other driver who was responsible for your work zone accident is the primary party that can be held liable for your injuries. If your car accident attorney is able to prove the negligence of the driver, the other driver can be held legally liable for your compensation.
- The construction company. Depending on the circumstances, the construction company can also be held liable for your injuries. Construction sites are required to display the proper signage, keep construction equipment within a safe parameter away from traffic, and provide the right amount of lighting in case drivers are traveling through work zone areas at night. When construction workers fail to perform these important tasks, these actions can be viewed as an act of negligence.
- A government agency. In some cases, the government may be liable for injuries in work zones. These types of cases are incredibly complex, and often have much shorter statutes of limitations, so it is critical that you seek representation as quickly as possible.
Recovering after a work zone accident can be traumatic. Choosing the right representation that can fight on your behalf should not be. If you or a member of your family suffered injury in a work zone accident, talk to a Maryland attorney at Plaxen Adler Muncy, PA today. We can help guide you through the process with integrity and strategy. Call us at 410-730-7737 or complete our contact form. We have offices throughout the state of Maryland. Initial consultations are free.