If you are a roadway construction worker, one of your biggest fears may not be getting hurt because of the equipment but being killed by a passing car. There are hundreds if not thousands of work zone sites on Texas roads at any given time. From highway repairs to local street resurfacing, construction workers are constantly trying to do their jobs while traffic whizzes by them. Construction workers’ fears regarding getting hit by a car or truck are justified. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, there were 21,886 work zone crashes within the state in 2015. This represented a 13 percent increase in accidents compared to 2014. During these accidents, 138 people were killed. Not all of those killed in work zones were construction workers, though. Normal motorists should also worry about work zone accidents, which can lead to significant injuries and death.
Texas Work Zone Laws
If you are caught committing a traffic violation within a current Texas work zone, the fine for that violation is doubled. For example, if your speeding ticket is for a $200 fine, this would be doubled to $400 because it took place in a work zone.
But how do you know whether it is a work zone? Under the law, workers and signs must be present. Signage can be a number of things including signals, lights, flags, and other warnings. However, you do not have to be able to see the workers to be double fined. It is enough that there are workers on the construction site and that this is noted by an officer on your ticket.
Speeding is a particular problem in work zones. Work zone signs may reduce the normal highway speed limit. Drivers need to pay close attention to signage within work zones to ensure they drive the posted speed limit and know exactly when the zone ends and they can increase their speed.
Distraction is also an issue in construction areas. People are often more concerned with their cell phones, food, drinks, passengers, or music than what is ahead of them on the road. Drivers can be fined up to $500 for illegally using a cell phone while driving, but this fine can be doubled in a work zone.
What to Do in an Accident
If you are in a crash in a work zone, do your best to pull to the side of the road or where you will be out of the way of oncoming traffic. Be extremely careful of driving any further if your vehicle has ended up on the work zone. You cannot be sure of the equipment or state of the road. You should also be cautious before getting out of your car if you are in the work zone.
Always call the police to ensure a report is made of the accident. The police may also be able to tell if the other person who caused the crash violated a traffic law by speeding, using a cell phone, or making some other illegal maneuver. If another driver is ticketed, this may help you prove that they caused the accident and are at fault for your injuries either to an insurance company or in court.
For more information on personal injury cases resulting from work zone crashes, contact the experienced New Braunfels personal injury attorneys of The Bettersworth Law Firm at 888-392-0039. We are eager to assist you today.