When it comes to different work zones or jobsites, the number one concern is always safety. Many different events to continue teaching proper safety measures are available for both the public and industry leaders to help spread awareness about work zone car crashes. This year’s National Work Zone Awareness Week is currently upon us during this week of April 20 – 24, 2020.
The National Work Zone Awareness Week (NWZAW) was created by the nonprofit organization, American Traffic Safety Services Foundation (ATSS). ATSS helps to support the loved ones of those impacted by work zone car crashes. The ATSS Foundation’s National Work Zone Memorial includes more than 1,500 names honoring the individuals who have been tragically killed in work zone crashes and travels to sites across the country annually.
In accordance with the national campaign, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) wants to remind motorists to make driving safely a priority when passing through active road construction and maintenance zones. Texas alone accounts for over 3,200 work zones. In 2019, more than 26,000 crashes occurred in Texas work zones, resulting in 167 fatalities and 690 critical injuries. The leading causes of Texas work zone crashes include speeding and distracted driving.
Work Zone Crashes
It’s incredibly important for drivers to be aware of their surroundings when behind the wheel, especially when driving through a work zone or jobsite. Work zones play a key role in maintaining and updating roadways, not just in Texas, but also across the nation. Unfortunately, daily changes in traffic patterns, narrowed streets, and bulky construction equipment combined with distracted drivers can result in crashes causing injuries and fatalities for workers and others on the roads. In fact, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), over 20,000 workers are injured each year in work zones.
Roadway construction workers are particularly vulnerable to cars and trucks that do not slow down as well as to distracted drivers. These workers are typically in close proximity to passing vehicles, but cannot constantly watch for traffic due to their work, which requires a close amount of attention. Because of this, workers rely on drivers to watch out for them, which unfortunately doesn’t always happen.
Work Zone Driver Safety
Driving through a work zone can be particularly tricky depending upon the extent of the work being done. Drivers are likely to encounter uneven pavement, narrow lanes, concrete barriers, slow-moving heavy equipment, and vehicles that can make sudden stops. TxDOT recommends keeping the following tips in mind when driving through work zones:
- Drive slowly and follow posted work zone speed limits. Traffic fines double in work zones when workers are present and can cost up to $2,000 per offense.
- Pay close attention, as workers and heavy equipment may only be a few feet away from passing vehicles.
- Allow for room to stop in a hurry if need be. Rear-end collisions are the most common type of work zone crash
- Stay alert when driving, minimize distractions, and keep smartphones out of reach.
- Keep an eye out for road crews with the potential of being struck by oncoming traffic.
- Allow for extra time, as road construction slows down traffic.
Future Work Zone Safety Measures
TxDOT will continue to work on various increased safety measures and public outreach efforts to educate motorists about driving safely through work zones. TxDOT also iterates the importance of Texas’ Move Over or Slow Down law requiring drivers to move over a lane or reduce their speed to 20 mph below the posted speed limit if they come across flashing lights on an emergency vehicle, tow truck, or utility vehicle stopped on the roadside or shoulder.
Lubbock Personal Injury Attorneys
At Liggett Law Group, we have a combined 70 years of legal experience fighting for justice for those who have suffered injuries at the hands of negligent parties. If you or someone you know needs the assistance of an experienced Lubbock personal injury attorney, contact us today for a free consultation.