Come spring, construction crews across Indiana get to work repairing and maintaining roadways and highways. Many of these crews will be assigned to highways across the state, and motorists are likely to come across more workers over the next few months as we move into summer.
Unfortunately, that also increases the risk of accidents in these construction work zones. The week between April 15 and 19 is being marked as National Work Zone Awareness Week, and the Indiana Department of Transportation has launched a special safety initiative to raise awareness about these risks. In addition, the Indiana Department of Labor has also launched an initiative to reduce the number of workers killed in transportation-related fatalities. That includes workers killed in these construction work zones.
According to estimates in 2012, three construction workers were killed in work zone in Indiana. But it’s not just workers who are at risk in these work zones. Many motorists driving through the zones are also at risk. In fact, motorists may be at a much higher risk of being killed in accidents, and account for a large majority of the construction fatalities. Ironically enough, most work zone accidents can be traced to motorist negligence or failure to look out for construction crews.
For a motorist driving through a work zone, this can be a hazardous environment because the area is full of construction equipment, debris and pedestrian workers. The area is also full of warning signs, directional information and unfamiliar lane shifts. That is why it is so important that you eliminate all distractions while driving through a work zone. Unfortunately, often motorists simply rip through a work zone, talking on a cell phone, texting or focused on other distractions. This only increases the risk of an accident.
Motorists also often fail to take into account the fact that many highway laborers are working very close to large construction vehicles and equipment like tractors, cranes and forklifts. This creates a highly hazardous environment for workers. Add the danger from motorists who are simply zipping through the work zone and it is clear why the Indiana Department of Labor and the Department Of Transportation is taking these risks so seriously.
This spring, when you come across a work zone, immediately drop speeds to the speed that is posted on the sign just outside the zone. Maintain low speeds as you drive through the zone, and watch out for flaggers and other workers who may be on foot in the zone. These workers are at an especially high risk of being struck by a motor vehicle. Switch off your cell phone, and the radio, and minimize distractions while you drive through a zone.
The Indiana personal injury lawyers at Montross Miller Muller Mendelson Kennedy LLP represent persons injured in car accidents across Indiana.