What are the causes of accidents in construction zones? How can motorists minimize their risk of having an accident in a work zone? Summer is here and that means work zones are popping up across Kansas. The increase in construction activity also means there is an increased risk of accidents. Speed, driver distractions, following too closely, traveling too fast for traffic conditions, aggressive driving, and other dangerous driving behaviors are the causes of most work zone crashes. Staying aware of work zones, slowing down, and avoiding distractions are highly effective at minimizing the risk of an accident. Many cities and workers for the highway departments create accident danger zones because of putting cones out with an unsafe warning distance. Cones should usually be out at least one hundred feet or more and when a curve or hill is near then it can be increased to 500 feet. Poor employee training is a reason that the appropriate warnings are not done.
In 2015, there were 700 fatalities and 35,526 injuries in work zones throughout the US. Of these, 170 were construction workers. Of all accidents within work zones, 174 involved large trucks and buses. The number of work zone fatalities declined from 1058 in 2005 to 586 in 2010. However, since then the rate of fatalities has been trending upwards again. Many of the cases we see for car accidents, truck accidents and motorcycle accidents are in or near work zones that require motorists to slow down and they rarely slow down to appropriate speeds for the hazardous areas. Reasons for increasing accidents may be an improving economy which has led to increases in miles driven per year and increased funding for road construction which means more work zones for motorists to encounter.
In 2006, there were 1,862 accidents in work zones across Kansas. These caused 15 deaths and 659 injuries. The number of accidents and fatalities has gone up and down over the past ten years. Of particular concern is that the number of accidents has nearly doubled from 1,132 work zone accidents in 2013 to 2,063 in 2016. In total, there were 17,730 work zone accidents between 2006 and 2016. These caused 72 fatalities and 6,102 injuries. Of the total number of accidents from 2006 to 2016, 13,421 caused property damage only. The rate of accidents, fatality/injury accidents, and property damage only accidents are similar to the rates of accidents that do not occur in construction zones. Accidents in south central Kansas are different that southwestern Kansas due to different road conditions and dangerous highways like U.S. 50, U.S. 83 and U.S. 183 or Highway 54.
In 2013, 20% of fatal work zone collisions were caused by rear ending. Approximately 5% involved a head on collision, and 13% involved striking another vehicle at an angle such as when trying to pass or merge. Approximately 58% of fatal accidents involved striking a fixed object, including barriers or a parked construction vehicle. Of those who died in these accidents, 85% were drivers or their passengers.
In 2014, speed was a factor in 28% of work zone fatalities. Alcohol consumption was a factor in 25%, and failure to use seatbelts was cited as a primary factor in 25% of fatal accidents. In all, 23% of fatal accidents occurred on urban interstates, and 20% happened on urban arterial roads. Together, these account for just 5% of the entire road network, but they are where 43% of work zone fatalities occur. Rural roads are usually more dangerous than urban areas due to the high crops, lack of stop signs, lack of yield signs and other problems with Kansas highways. This means motorists should pay particular attention when traveling through these areas, reduce their speed, and avoid distractions and other behaviors that could lead to a collision with a fixed object, construction worker, or construction vehicle located within these work zones.
Brad Pistotnik Law represents clients in Kansas, Nebraska, Texas, Florida, Missouri, and Illinois who collide with a construction vehicle in a work zone. Whether the accident occurred in Topeka, Overland Park, Colby, Wichita, Newton, McPherson, Ulysses, Satanta, Ness City, Scott City, Bird City, Manhattan, Lawrence, Junction City, Emporia, Columbia, Great Bend, Hastings, Branson, Manhattan, Tulsa, Grand Island, Pratt, Decatur, Omaha, Lincoln, Kearney, Springfield, Dallas, Edmond, El Paso, Joplin, Panama City, Jacksonville, Austin, Destin, Laredo, Houston, Salina, Bonner Springs, Leavenworth, Pittsburg, Manhattan, Wellington, San Antonio, or elsewhere in these states, our team works to secure the compensation our clients need to recover from accidents in construction zones.
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