Over the course of five years, there were 4,400 fatalities in construction zones. The majority of victims were in cars, rather than engaged in construction work. There were also 200,000 victims injured in accidents in construction zones. Many different types of motor vehicle accidents caused these workplace injuries. However, Federal Highway Administration reports the most common type of car accident that occurs in construction work zones is rear-end accidents.
Rear-end collisions happen if a driver strikes the back of the lead vehicle. The rear driver is usually held responsible for crash losses, although there may be some exceptions to this rule. If the rear-end crash causes injuries or death, the motorist responsible for the accident must provide compensation for losses. The majority of people killed in accidents in construction work zones are working-aged individuals, which may mean a lifetime of lost income for victims or families of those who are no longer able to work in the wake of a serious collision. The financial and emotional impact of losing a healthy, productive person can be devastating on families.
Prevention of Rear-End Collisions in Construction Areas
Drivers are the people most likely to die in car accidents in construction zones. Together, drivers and passengers in vehicles made up 85 percent of total victims killed in collisions in construction areas. Prevention of rear-end crashes could go a long way towards saving the lives of motorists and vehicle occupants involving in such construction zone accidents.
Motorists must understand how long it takes to stop their vehicles. The majority of fatal accidents in construction areas occur on roads where the speed limit is faster than 50 miles per hour. At a 50 MPH speed, a vehicle on a dry road will take 300 feet to stop. Unfortunately, some drivers don’t leave enough room between vehicles to safely stop.
Larger vehicles have more momentum and take longer to stop. An 80,000 pound truck will take 50 percent longer distance to stop. If the road is wet, the passenger car will take 400 feet to stop when going 50 MPH and the truck will take as much as 50 percent longer. Maintaining a safe following distance to allow enough time to stop is essential to avoiding crash risks. Many drivers become frustrated with construction zones, especially if there is traffic, and tailgate and do not leave enough space.
A leading cause of rear-end crashes, including in construction zones, is distracted drivers. The Washington Post reports 87 percent of rear-end accidents happen due to driver distraction. Construction zones can be a major source of distraction as motorists do not focus on the car ahead but instead look at work being done on the road. When drivers take their eyes off the road to check construction, they may not notice and not react quickly enough if the vehicle stops in front of them. Drivers who look at a phone or GPS device to see if there is an alternate route to avoid construction might also take their eyes away from the road and increase the risk of causing a rear-end crash.
Portland accident victims should contact Zbinden & Curtis, Attorneys at Law, by calling 1-503-287-5000 or visiting http://zbinden-curtis.com. Serving Portland, Hillsboro, Gresham and surrounding areas.