The number of motor vehicle accidents resulting in injuries and deaths occurring in road construction zones nationwide is staggering and depressing. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) reports that during a typical year in America, more than 650 people die in car, truck and motorcycle accidents in construction zones, where speeds are supposed to be reduced. Although drivers are required by law to come to a stop when a construction worker is in harm’s way, NIOSH reports that as high as 65 percent of all fatalities in construction zone accidents are road crew workers.
This blog discusses the legal protections afforded construction workers injured while working in a road construction zone in Georgia.
Enhanced Construction Zone Enforcement
In recent years, nearly every state has increased penalties for moving violations occuring in a posted road construction zone and Georgia is no exception. Fines for speeding have been enhanced to a maximum fine of $2,000 and the penalty may now include up to 12 months in jail. Enforcement of the law requires that the zone is properly marked with signage and equipment, barrels and workers must be present.
But Speeding Is Not Always The Cause Of Accidents
Most accidents in construction zones occur as a result of driver impatience, rather than speeding or reckless driving. Traffic is often backed up and speeds slow to well below the posted speed limit. Drivers take every opportunity to pull out to pass a large truck or multiple cars, often without considering construction vehicle traffic or road crew workers along the sides of the narrow lane.
Common types of road construction zone accidents include:
– Head-on collisions
– Road crew member struck by vehicle (pedestrian)
– Rear-end collisions
– Motor vehicle striking construction vehicle along shoulder
What To Do If You Were Injured In A Construction Zone In Georgia
Construction zone accidents often occur along narrow, single lanes with minimal or no shoulder. If you were involved in an accident, either as a road crew worker or a driver or passenger, clear yourself and your vehicle to a safe area, if possible. Call or have someone contact the police immediately. If possible, take specific notes about the conditions in the zone, including road surface, equipment in the area, witnesses, etc. If you or someone you trust has access to a smartphone camera, photos are always a good idea.
Make no statement to anyone at the scene of the accident other than the police officer taking the official report.
Get The Legal Help You Need
If you or a loved one have been involved in any type of motor vehicle accident in a road construction zone anywhere in the state, talk to an attorney at Gammon, Anderson & McFall in Cedartown right away. If you are a road crew worker, in addition to helping your family receive the workers’ compensation benefits you are entitled to, we may also be able to help you recover compensation from the insurance company of the negligent driver.