Highways, interstates, and many other roadways are in a constant state of repair and construction across the country. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that an average of 100 car accidents occur in construction work zones each day in the United States, many of them resulting in serious or fatal injuries.
In an effort to reduce the number of car accidents in construction work zones, many states have imposed serious penalties for speeding or driving recklessly through these areas. Fines and penalties are often doubled for these violations. Though these mandates are helping to reduce the number of car accidents, there are still far too many people being injured in these types of accidents every day.
Construction workers, car drivers and passengers, or the families of those fatally injured, may have legal rights after an accident in a work zone.
The most common types of car accidents that occur in construction work zones involve rear-ending, sideswipes, and contact with roadway signs or equipment. Drivers that drive drunk, speed, or those that fail to use seatbelts are at the highest risk of serious and fatal car accidents and injuries.
Even when the speed limit is posted at 55 miles per hour or above on a highway, drivers are expected to reduce their speed when entering a work zone. Most construction zones post a speed limit between 25 and 35 miles per hour. It is necessary to slow down when traveling through the often-narrow pathways and unfamiliar traffic patterns in a work zone.
Construction work zones need to be properly marked with traffic cones, bright signs, or digital signals warning drivers that they are entering into a work area with possible lane changes or closures, redirected traffic patterns, and the presence of heavy equipment. Trucks and construction vehicles must also be vigilant in following the rules of the road, with a special emphasis on using caution when working close to oncoming traffic.
Construction contractors must ensure that there are sufficient guardrails or safety barriers separating the work zone from the lanes of moving traffic. Proper lighting is essential for workers and drivers alike to clearly see the area in front of them.
Traffic control personnel should also be on hand to alert drivers to upcoming hazard areas and to direct the safe flow of traffic. Failure to ensure that these safety precautions are in place could make the construction company liable for injuries.
If you or someone you know has been injured in a construction work zone, you may be entitled to compensation. Call the Philadelphia construction accident lawyers at Galfand Berger at 800-222-USWA (8792) or contact us online to schedule a consultation today. Our Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Lancaster, and Reading offices serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.