Indianapolis Road Construction: Are You Safer Now?
While we all appreciate the potholes being filled in before Old Man Winter arrives again, road construction and maintenance can make us groan with impatience. Some road repairs can lead to improved road safety, such as when guardrails are added, when engineering errors are corrected to create a safer roadway, or, yes, when fixing potholes. Other repairs with positive results include new traffic lights, new pedestrian safety features, improved traffic flow patterns, and road expansions that will decrease congestion. These projects can all be good investments toward improved road quality and safety.
However, there is also reason for caution when new road construction projects get underway, because work zones can present unique hazards for drivers and for workers.
Work Zone Crash and Fatality Numbers
In the United States during 2015, 70 work zone crashes produced at least one injury every day, and the incidence of collisions is rising. The number of work zone crashes in 2015 increased 7.8 percent over 2014 and 42 percent over 2013, with 26.4 percent of such collisions resulting in at least one injured party. Slightly less than one percent of crashes produced at least one death.
Work zone wrecks have a higher rate of fatalities than non-work zone crashes do. If the fatality rate of work zone traffic deaths were reduced to the same rate as those not in work zones, 164 lives would have been saved in 2015.
Why and Where Do Work Zone Collision Fatalities Occur?
Using 2014 data, we know the following about U.S. work zone crash factors and traffic deaths:
- Speeding was involved in 28 percent of fatal crashes.
- Alcohol was involved in 25 percent of fatal crashes.
- Not using a seatbelt was involved in 28 percent of fatal crashes.
- Rear-end collisions were responsible for 41 percent of fatal crashes.
- Urban interstates and related artery roads were the locations of 43 percent of fatal work zone crashes, even though those roads accounted for only 5 percent of the miles under repair.
Of the deaths that happened in work zones, 85 percent were drivers and passengers in cars, not workers.
The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) recorded the most common causes of work zone crashes during 2014 on Indiana roads as:
- Following too closely
- Aggressive or reckless driving (failing to yield the right of way, unsafe lane changes, and unsafe movement within a lane)
- Distraction/driver inattention.
Indiana’s Work Zone Safety Law carries strong penalties for work zone infractions. A first time citation means a $300 fine; second offenses are $500; and third offenses are $1,000. If you drive aggressively or recklessly in a work zone, the fine can rise to $5,000. If you injure or kill a roadway construction worker, you could pay a $10,000 fine and serve up to six years in jail.
Although road construction worker deaths have generally gone down since 2005, such tragic events still take place. INDOT’s video, “Highway Work Zone Awareness: We Don’t Speed Through Your Office,” illustrates the situation.
No one enjoys road construction and its attendant higher traffic load. But fixing our roads makes them safer; road flaws can contribute to accidents. Remember that it takes you only one additional minute to travel through a two-mile work zone at 45 mph than at 65 mph. So we ask you to show a little patience when it comes to traveling through work zones on Indiana’s roads.
When others breach their duty, we keep ours.
If you or a family member has suffered injuries in a car crash caused by another’s negligence, you know all too well the worries and bills that result. If you are considering hiring an Indiana personal injury lawyer, we suggest you look for an attorney who will give you competent and compassionate representation, with an approach that always puts you first. That’s exactly what you’ll get with proven advocate attorneys Mike Stephenson and Brady Rife. The entire legal team at McNeely Stephenson is committed to doing whatever is necessary to achieve the best possible outcome in your case. Don’t lose the opportunity to obtain the money you need to put your life back on track and to make your family’s future financially secure. Call Mike or Brady today for a free initial consultation. If you prefer, use our online contact form.