Whether it’s a large-scale highway project or a simple pothole patching job, road work requires crews to block off shoulders, close lanes, and redirect traffic to keep workers safe. These designated work zones may be necessary, but they’re also sometimes confusing and potentially dangerous. National statistics show that 4 out of 5 people killed in work zone accidents are drivers, not road crew employees.
There are many factors of negligence by other drivers and road crews that could contribute to work zone accidents. Let’s dive deeper into these issues by taking a look at the most common causes of work zone accidents.
Work Zone Setup and Organization
All roadway construction projects are overseen by the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT). According to the organization, a primary goal of their “No Surprises!” campaign is to reduce driver confusion and congestion. Interstate construction projects are a particular area of concern, as these reportedly have higher numbers of crashes due to higher driving speeds.
In order to improve safety, INDOT has several legal requirements in all work zones Organizationally, INDOT bases its work scheduling on Interstate Highways Congestion Policy. This may mean crews working overnight instead of during daytime hours when there are more cars on the road.
In terms of the work zone itself, all workers are required to wear high-visibility safety apparel and protective equipment. INDOT workers are also required to set up proper signage that prepares drivers for changes like lane restrictions, speed reductions, or detours. Additionally, work crews should partner with law enforcement to patrol work zones and ensure motorists are following the work zone regulations.
How Drivers Can Cause Work Zone Accidents
In 2018, Indiana State Police reported a total of 14 deaths as well as another 650 injuries due to work zone accidents. The most common causes of these incidents were:
- Following too close
- Failure to yield right of way
- Improper or unsafe lane movement
- Driver inattention
In order to prevent these kinds of accidents, fellow drivers need to remain focused and attentive. Distracted driving is a major issue on any roadway, but a study shows that when drivers lose focus in work zones, they’re 29 times more likely to crash. Drivers have a responsibility to other cars around them, as well as the workers themselves.
That’s why the state passed the Indiana Work Zone Safety Law, which enacts penalties for breaking the regulations and rules in these designated work zones. This could include speeding or disregarding signs, anything that could potentially harm someone else. While first-time citations start at $300, the fines can go as high as $1,000 for a third offense in three years. Furthermore, aggressive or dangerous drivers may face fines as high as $10,000, as well as up to six years in jail.
Work Zone Accidents Impact Indiana Drivers
Work zones may be necessary for improved driving conditions, but their presence can still create dangerous environments for drivers and workers alike. When other drivers fail to adhere to the rules or the signs aren’t readily apparent, dangerous accidents can occur. If you have been the victim of an accident in a work zone and believe negligence may have been at play, contact the Indiana car accident attorneys at Christie Farrell Lee & Bell at 317-488-5500. From listening to your story to fighting for you in court, we’re your advocates.