Each Summer, the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDot) begins seasonal construction and maintenance of Missouri roadways. In the heart of summer 2013, MoDot is asking that drivers please watch out for workers as they travel. They spend their days working near fast-moving cars and vehicles, and while they try to make every effort to work safely, they count on drivers to pay attention. It is imperative that drivers slow down, be attentive, and drive carefully through work areas. Zoning out in work zones leads to numerous roadside deaths annually.
In late 2012, Governor Jay Nixon along with the Missouri General Assembly instated the “Move Over” law, which aims to protect law enforcement and emergency response vehicles parked or stopped on the side of the road. This law mandates that motorists either change lanes or slow down significantly when approaching these vehicles. The law has recently been altered to include MoDot vehicles parked with amber and white lights flashing.
MoDot wants all employees and all travelers to make it home safe, which is why they developed their online traveler information map, an interactive map designed to show drivers which work zones they’ll encounter before they drive.
Unfortunately the following statistics show that zoning out in work zones is a grave problem:
- Nine people were killed in work zones in 2012, and 11 individuals were killed in work zones in 2011.
- 626 individuals were injured in work zones in 2012, and 712 workers were injured in work zones in 2011.
- Between late 2008 and early 2012, 61 individuals were killed and almost 3,700 people were injured in Missouri work zones.
- According to MoDot, the top five contributing circumstance for work zone crashes in 2012 were following too closely, inattention, improper lane changes, failure to yield, and speeding.
- A drivers best defense in a work zone crash, or in any car crash, is a seat belt. In 2012 (last available data) of the 824 traffic deaths, 614 were vehicle driver deaths; 70% of these drivers were not wearing a seat belt.
To avoid work zone accidents:
- Buckle up. Wear your seat belt every trip, every time.
- Stay Focused and Alert. Dedicate your full attention to the roadway and be conscious of where road workers are located on the roadway. Avoid distractions.
- Follow Signs. The signs are meant to safely guide you through a work zone.
- Expect the Unexpected. Watch out for flaggers, workers, and equipment on or near the roadways.
- Pay Attention. Turn down the radio and don’t use cell phones. Keep both hands on the wheel, and both eyes on the road.
- Be Patient. Remember that the workers are simply improving the roads for future travels and ensuring safety, not trying to slow you down.
- Slow Down; Don’t Speed. Follow all posted speed limits and adjust your speed for weather conditions.
- Merge as Directed. Be nice and only merge as the signs direct. Similarly, don’t tailgate and drive recklessly through work zones.
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a pedestrian accident, you may be entitled to significant money reward as compensation for your losses and harms. Whether you were injured in a work zone, or simply while crossing the street, you may be entitled to compensation. To find out more about your potential claim, call a St. Louis personal injury lawyer today at 314.409.7060 for a FREE, no obligation consultation.