A Construction Zone Offers Special Hazards to Drivers

Accidents in Construction Areas Are Surprisingly Common

Construction zone accidents can happen anywhere and lead to serious injuries. Pennsylvania is almost famous around the country for its ongoing construction projects, and Erie County is no exception. In March, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation announced they were beginning a two-year project along Erie County’s Interstate 90. One of the projects will be to rebuild about seven miles of roadway as well as the interchange for Route 18. The other will be to repave about 10 miles of roadway from mile marker 35 along I-86 to the New York state line. Improving the roadways is important, however, it can increase hazards for motorists while it is ongoing.

Are Construction Zones Really That Dangerous?

Yes, they are. According to the Federal Highway Administration, 690 traffic fatalities involving vehicles occurred around the nation in construction area accidents in 2019. Another 140 fatalities were reported in these work areas to pedestrians and bicyclists. This does not take into account the number of injuries, which were considerably higher. These fatal accidents were caused by the following: 

  • Rear-end collisions caused 24 percent of the road construction zone accidents.
  • Commercial motor vehicles were involved in 33 percent of fatal accidents.
  • Speeding led to 31 percent of the fatal accidents at a road construction site.

What Are the Leading Causes of Traffic Accidents in Construction Zones?

Causes of accidents in construction areas are often the result of driver error. However, the following problems can lead to a serious injury accident:

  • Badly marked or too narrow lanes: We’ve all driven through construction areas where the red cones appear haphazardly placed or narrow the lane too much, which makes the driver end up guessing in which direction to go.
  • Surfaces that are uneven: Some surfaces are simply irregular, which can make a driver lose control if they are traveling at a higher speed. Others can occasionally have a steep drop off, which can certainly cause a crash.
  • Driver negligence: A driver who is speeding, distracted or intoxicated can end up causing a collision that involves other vehicles. 
  • Construction vehicles: Large construction vehicles that are passing through or in and out of the area can be hard to spot or provide inadequate warnings.
  • Driving through the dust storm: Road work often kicks up a lot of dust, which can limit a driver from seeing and cause a collision either with another vehicle or objects in the construction area. 

Who Is Liable in a Construction Area Collision?

Liability in an accident in a construction zone depends on how the collision occurred. Your Erie personal injury lawyer can determine who is at fault for your accident, so you can recover compensation. Liability may also lie with more than one party, such as:

  • The construction company: When detours are poorly marked, direction signs are missing, lanes too narrow and no flagmen are present, the company may be liable for accident injuries caused by these hazardous conditions
  • Another motorist: A driver who speeds through a construction area and is distracted, inebriated or other types of negligence, may be held liable if they cause an accident with your vehicle.
  • Government negligence: If signs placed by a government entity are missing that warn motorists they are approaching a construction zone, that entity may be liable for an injury accident. 

Call the Travis Law Firm for Help

If you are injured in a construction zone accident, call the Travis Law Firm for help. We will review your case, answer your questions and give you your options going forward. Call us at (814) 277-2222, or contact us online to schedule a free case review.