Repairing America’s transportation infrastructure is a critical element in maintaining the high standard of living enjoyed in this country. Work zones are designated areas in which repairs are made to bridges and roadways. Observing the posted speed limits in these zones is essential not only to protect your own safety but to prevent injuries to workers as they repair damaged pavement and add lanes to existing highways. Most states impose heavier fines for speeding and other infractions in work zones. In some cases, Houston auto accident settlements may also be higher if it can be shown that excessive speed was a factor in the crash. Here is what every Houston driver needs to know about safety in work zones.
High-Risk Areas for Drivers and Workers
According to figures collected by the Texas Department of Transportation, about 15,000 crashes occur each year in work zones located in the Lone Star State. In 2014, Texas recorded the following alarming statistics:
- 19,393 accidents were reported in work zones.
- 146 people lost their lives in these accidents.
- 670 individuals were seriously injured and nearly 3,000 more suffered some sort of injury in accidents that occurred in road construction work zones.
Excessive speed and distracted driving are among the most common factors in these crashes. Observing the speed limits in work zones is essential to ensure your safety and the safety of your passengers.
Costs of Speeding in Work Zones
Fines are doubled for speeding offenses in work zones in the state of Texas. This can quickly add up to significant sums of money for careless drivers. These fines, however, are only the tip of the iceberg when determining the actual costs of work zone accidents, which typically include some or all of the following:
- Property damage to vehicles or construction equipment
- Medical expenses for those injured in these accidents
- Missed work due to injuries
- Lost income for families who have lost loved ones in work zone fatalities
- Downtime and reduced productivity for workers in affected construction zones
- Economic costs of slow traffic resulting from these accidents
Because most work zone accidents are preventable, these costs represent an unnecessary drain on the economies of Texas and the United States.
Tips for Staying Safer in Construction Zones
The National Traffic Safety Institute (NTSI) notes that rear-end collisions represent the majority of accidents in construction zones. Maintaining a safe distance between your car and the vehicle in front of you is usually the best way to avoid these types of accidents. Other recommendations by the NTSI include the following:
- Use extra caution in work zones. A moment’s distraction could cause you to miss a warning sign or an obstruction in your path.
- Obey the directions given by flaggers in these work zones. Failure to do so could cause a collision with oncoming traffic or with construction equipment moving across lanes of traffic.
- Drive courteously. Merging as soon as possible and allowing others to merge where necessary can ensure a safer trip for all drivers in construction areas.
Observing the posted speed limits in work zones is also essential to ensure a safer journey for you and your passengers.
Houston vehicle accident lawyers can provide added support if you or someone in your family has been involved in a work zone crash. These legal professionals specialize in determining all the factors involved in an accident and putting that information to work to ensure the highest possible settlement for your case. If you are currently pursuing a Houston car accident insurance claim, working with a personal injury lawyer can significantly improve your odds of reaching a fair and equitable settlement offer. If your case does go to court, your Houston auto accident attorney can provide you with the best and most effective representation. This can ensure that you receive fair compensation for injuries you or your family members have sustained in a Texas work zone accident.