Motorist often think that work zone accidents on Texas highways primarily result in injuries or death to roadway construction workers. According to the Texas Department of Transportation who maintains over 80,000 miles of road, this is far from the truth. Fact is, of the 146 deaths that occurred in work zone crashes in 2014, an eye-opening 87% were motorists, not highway workers. In fact many of the 19,393 work zone related crashes occurred at a place or time when no work crews were present.
The majority of work zone accidents along Texas roadways are a direct result of a driver exceeding the posted speed limit or by a distracted driver. By Texas law, drivers of all types of motor vehicles (cars, trucks, motorcycles, RVs, etc.) are required to move over or slow down when approaching highway workers, emergency vehicles, tow trucks, or any vehicle with flashing red, blue or amber lights. To encourage good driving habits,traffic fines for tickets received in a designated work zone are doubled (up to $2000) when crews are present.
In many work zone accidents, however, the contractor has been found to be negligent and liable for damages. Typical plaintiff allegations presented in claims brought against roadside contractors include: inadequate or improper traffic control device maintenance and/or placement; inadequate warning signage for drivers about upcoming roadway hazards; a lack of compliance with state-established work zone standards and traffic control plans; and failure to adhere to contract specifications.
With approximately 400,000 people relocating to the Lone Star state each year, the need to build, resurface, repair or replace sections of Texas highways will be an ongoing task for quite some time. Since the crews who perform these tasks have to work in close proximity of traffic, designated work zones will increase the likelihood of serious accidents in those areas. If you or a loved one were injured in a work zone accident, the accurate and timely documentation of the event can be critical to proving your case and obtaining compensation for your damages.