Driving through an area of construction requires care and attention. In addition to traffic, obstacles such as cones, potholes, equipment, and pavement changes tend to fill construction zones. Yet, accidents regularly occur in construction zones despite drivers' regular awareness of these hazards.
The Federal Highway Administration ("FHA") maintains reports and statistics on the number of crashes that occur in work zones. Recent reports show that an average of 750 lives was lost in construction zone accidents on a yearly basis. The peak of the accident fatalities occurred in 2002, resulting in the deaths of nearly 1,200 people.1
Perhaps more surprising are the statistics regarding the increasing rate of construction zone-related accidents and fatalities. The FHA reports that, although the number of highway fatalities is decreasing overall, rates of construction zone fatalities are increasing, albeit slightly. In 2014 alone, 607 construction zone accidents were deemed fatal. The 607 accidents resulted in 669 fatalities.
The rise in construction zone accidents is occurring despite efforts to increase safe driving practices in construction zones. Unsafe driving behaviors significantly affect construction zone accidents. A sizeable percentage of construction zone accidents are rear-end collisions. In fact, in 2013 alone, rear-end collisions accounted for nearly 41% of all construction zone fatalities.
The FHA compiled a list of factors that caused the fatal construction zone accidents in 2014. (These are pretty universal factors that can also lead to non-fatal accidents.) Factors include:
Speeding accounted for approximately 28% of fatal construction zone accidents in 2014. Speed limits are decreased in construction zones. Still, this does not keep drivers from speeding through construction zones, putting others at risk. Higher speeds provide less time to stop, make it more difficult to avoid potential hazards such as cars braking or traveling at slower speeds.
Alcohol was a factor in approximately 25% of fatal accidents. Alcohol impairs a driver by slowing down reaction time, decreasing focus, and impacting vision. These impairments make driving through construction zones dangerous because they impact a driver's ability to react to hazards.
Time of year also impacts the number of construction zone accidents. According to the FHA, fatal crashes happen more frequently during the summer months. During these months, there are more drivers are on the road, often as a result of vacations or trips to the beach. St. Petersburg, a popular tourist destination, experiences an uptick in visitors during the summer months. The increased traffic numbers can result in an increased number of construction zone accidents.
Although it is not a cause of construction zone accidents, the lack of a seatbelt accounted for a significant number of fatalities. Drivers and passengers are at a greater risk of being thrown or injured in an accident whenever they fail to wear a seatbelt.
Many construction accidents occur because one or more parties were negligent, including drivers or the construction crew. It is imperative to identify which parties were at fault to know should be held responsible for the crash.
CONTACT A ST. PETERSBURG AUTOMOBILE ACCIDENT ATTORNEY TODAY
Construction zone accidents are common. You may be entitled to recover damages if you are injured in a construction zone accident for medical expenses, lost wages, and others. The most effective way to recover damages is to retain experienced legal counsel. The car accident attorneys of Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA can help you. We will review your case's facts and work to develop a unique and effective legal strategy that is designed to recover damages. Schedule your free consultation by calling 727-222-6922 today.