Our nation’s infrastructure is in a serious state of disrepair, but fixing our roads and highways incurs costs to drivers above and beyond the taxes they pay. As our population grows, more and more cars are driving on highways and bridges that were never designed to handle such volume. New construction projects to address the volume and flow of traffic are necessary, but the threats to motorists that these projects pose are a growing problem.
Construction accidents can lead to even more accidentsA recent accident in Wood County was a perfect illustration of this situation. ABC 13 reported, “Traffic is back to normal on I-75 SB between Middleton Pike and Dowling Rd. in Wood County after a crash involving a commercial vehicle and at least one car caused a serious back-up on Friday afternoon.” The crash caused bumper-to-bumper traffic for hours, creating the potential for low-speed collisions (which can have serious consequences, despite the low speed) common in heavy traffic. Construction zones pose a wide variety of threats to motorists. Sudden lane shifts or closures, heavy machinery, the unexpected presence of a person standing on a busy highway; every one of these situations can cause a major accident in a moment of distraction. Even when a driver is alert and engaged, poorly marked or confusing instructions can have devastating consequences at highway speeds.
Construction zone accidents by the numbersThankfully, construction zone accidents are rarely fatal because of the accompanying speed restrictions, but almost a third involve some form of injury, and more than two-thirds resulted in significant vehicle damage. The US Department of Transportation maintains a Work Zone Management Program that keeps a record of this information, and includes statistical analyses. The most recent statistics available tell us that:
- There were 87,606 crashes in work zones in 2010
- 41% of work zone crashes were rear-end collisions
- 25% of work zone motor vehicle fatalities involvement large trucks, compared to 12% of all highway fatalities