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How likely are fatal work zone accidents?

Drivers, whether they are in a hurry or not, encounter construction sites. While many drivers in Pennsylvania and elsewhere in the nation respond with frustration, the reality is that drivers should focus on being more cautious in these areas. In fact, when drivers are negligent in work zones, they not only risk their life and the lives of other travelers on the roadways but also risk the lives of those working at the construction site.

How likely are fatal work zone accidents? According to a recent survey conducted by the American Association of General Contractors, the data collected from 800 highway contractors over the past year indicated that 46 percent of contractors reported a motor vehicle crash at one of their construction work zones.

While this is a worrisome statistic, according to the Federal Highway Administration, work zone traffic-related fatalities have gone down 34 percent since 1999. The most current data available from the agency is from 2013. During that year, 579 traffic-related fatalities occurred in work zones and represented a 6 percent decrease from 2012. In addition, 29,000 work zone injuries were recorded in 2013, which is a 9 percent decrease from 2012.

Despite the decrease in fatalities and injuries in these categories, there was an increase in one category. According to the data collected for 2013, 184 large trucks and 2 buses were involved in fatal crashes in work zones. This is an 11 percent increase from the statistics for 2012.

Although the number of fatalities in work zone accidents has generally decreased, there is still currently a high risk of injuries and fatalities to those traveling and working in work zones. The best way to improve work zone safety for everyone involved is by slowing down. Moreover, drivers should avoid distractions such as using a phone.

When a driver is negligent and causes a work zone accident, a thorough investigation is important. Victims and their loved ones could file a civil action such as a personal injury claim or a wrongful death claim. This could help victims or the loved ones of the deceased recover compensation for their losses and damages arising from the incident.

Source: Fleet Owner, "Targeting the work zone vehicular threat," Sean Kilcarr, accessed June 24, 2015.

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