Roadway repair and construction season is here, and both commercial drivers and motorists in Mobile are being reminded by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to use extra caution when approaching and going through work zones.
In 2020, our state had over 2,300 work zone crashes and 19 deaths, according to data from the Alabama Department of Transportation.
Nationally, highway work zone crash fatalities jumped a little over 11% from 757 in 2018 to 842 in 2019 (crash data is not yet available for 2020).
Of all the statistics involving work zone crashes, the most eye-opening figure was 33% — which represents the percentage of fatal crashes occurring in work zones that involve large trucks, even though there are fewer large trucks on the road than passenger vehicles.
“Fatal crashes occurring in work zones are both tragic and absolutely preventable,” said FMCSA Deputy Administrator Meera Joshi. “I am especially concerned that large trucks continue to have a disproportional involvement in fatal crashes occurring in work zones – 33 percent – when large trucks comprise roughly 5 percent of vehicular traffic."
We all need to share work zones safely
The recent work being done on Zeigler Boulevard should be a signal to commercial drivers and motorists in our community that road work season has commenced in Alabama, yet Mobile County has already experienced a car accident that left a highway construction zone worker severely injured.
In April, just north of Mobile in Satsuma, a motorist lost control of their vehicle while going through a work zone on Highway 43 and struck a 20-year-old construction worker who was trimming weeds in a ditch at the time. The victim's injuries have required multiple surgeries and included a pair of fractured vertebrae, a dislocated femur, and multiple lacerations. He also needed a trach put in so he can try to start speaking again.
While the exact cause of the accident has yet to be released, this is just another tragic reminder of why it's so important for motorists to use extra caution when approaching a work zone. Remember, road construction workers are just trying to do their job and then get home safely.
Work zone safety tips for all drivers
Navigating through a work zone presents many different and sometimes difficult challenges for commercial truck drivers and motorists. There could be uneven pavement, stop-and-go traffic, orange cones and barrels, concrete barriers, workers and heavy equipment entering/exiting the roadway, and partial road closures.
Here are 5 tips all drivers should keep in mind when traveling through a work zone:
Obey the posted speed limit — Work zone speed limits are there to protect you and the construction workers. The faster you go, the more time you need to stop and the less time you have to react. Speeding increases your odds of losing control of your vehicle, so always slow down and be safe when approaching a work zone. Getting ticketed for speeding can also cost you up to $2,000 since traffic fines are doubled in work zones.
Stay focused on the road ahead — Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of crashes in Alabama, so keep your attention on the road at all times. Don't use your cellphone. Don't text while you're driving. Don't take selfies to post on social media. And don't get lost in a conversation with a passenger.
Give yourself room to stop — If you're tailgating the driver in front of you, you won't have enough time to react or room to stop. Keep a safe distance and stay focused. Rear-end collisions are the most common types of crashes that occur in work zones.
Beware of road crews — Work zones can be loud and chaotic, so you shouldn't just assume that a road worker sees your vehicle. Road construction workers who get hit by a car only have hard hats and safety boots to protect them from injury.
Plan ahead — Give yourself extra time to get to where you're going or seek an alternate route. We've all been stuck in traffic before because of road work, and there's no question it can be frustrating. By planning for a delay or taking a different route, you can avoid getting caught up in the moment and engaging in reckless driving habits.
After a crash, don't hesitate...call Dean Waite
Whether you're a motorist who was injured in a crash caused by a negligent driver or a road worker who got hit by a car, time is money when you've been involved in a work zone accident.
Under Alabama law, you have legal recourse to pursue compensation for your losses if another person or entity is responsible for your injury.
But you only have a certain amount of time to take legal action against the at-fault party, and the longer you wait, the less time your attorney has to build a strong case.
Keep in mind insurance companies have a financial incentive to pay you as little money as possible.
They accomplish this through a variety of questionable tactics, such as requesting exorbitant amounts of paperwork, being unresponsive, and making you mini settlement offers that fall far short of what you're actually entitled to recover.
At Dean Waite & Associates, LLC, our car accident lawyers counter those tactics by constructing airtight cases and demanding compensation that covers all your accident-related expenses.
This includes losses tied to an exact dollar amount (economic damages), such as your medical bills, lost income, replacement services, modifications to your home and vehicle, vocational rehabilitation, and property damage.
We also pursue compensation for non-economic damages, which don't have a defined dollar amount but are no less real than your economic damages. Non-economic damages can include your pain and suffering, loss of consortium, physical impairment, and disfigurement.
Don't leave it up to an insurance company to pay you what you're owed. They're in business to collect payments, not offer you a fair financial settlement. Let us handle them instead so we can fight for every dollar you deserve.
Contact us today for a free consultation. There are no obligations, and we offer legal representation on a contingency fee basis. That means you pay nothing unless we win your case. Discover what a car accident lawyer in Mobile, AL can do for you and call Dean Waite right now.