We’ve all seen the warning signs on public roads and highways in Houston and across Texas, warning us to slow down in work zones where construction, road repairs, and other public initiatives are being implemented. Unfortunately, not every driver heeds these warnings, and accidents occur every single day on the busy roads of our great state. Whether it is the ubiquity of work zones (especially in Houston which has seen explosive growth in and around the city in the past decade) or whether people are simply not paying attention, work-zone accidents can have a devastating effect on the driver involved, other drivers on the road, and workers who are on the scene.
According to recent statistics for 2016 by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), there was a total of 25, 814 crashes on and off the highway system in work zones specifically. These numbers are staggering, especially considering the amount of signage that is required by law for construction companies to place on and before a construction site. While a certain number of these crashes either did not report any injuries or were non-injury crashes, a tragic number of them did report either serious injuries or deaths. A total of 749 “incapacitating injuries” were reported, while another 181 people were killed. These numbers are clearly too high for a state that prides itself on neighborly courtesy and care, and it is incredible to think how many of these accidents could have been avoided if the driver or drivers involved had behaved in a cautious and responsible manner.
That’s where public safety initiatives have to step in, to teach individuals of the importance of cautious, courteous driving. Many crashes can be directly attributed to the failure to observe the speed limit, intoxicated driving, distractions behind the wheel (like texting or use of in-car devices), or other reckless or negligent actions. If individuals had paid more attention to their actions and had committed to keeping others safe while behind the wheel, these issues would not occur.
In the event of an injury in a work zone, there is little that can be done once the accident has occurred. Car accident attorneys in Houston like the ones we found in a basic Google search (we found this firm, Williams Kherkher), often have a record of success in helping individuals who have been hurt in an accident take legal action.
It is important for state officials to place a stronger focus on preventing these types of accidents from occurring. While many people drive past work zones each day (and often multiple times per day) it is often easy to ignore the warnings and fail to heed the safe practices that can keep yourself and others safe on the road. What’s more, many people do not realize that they must reduce their speed in zones that often have barricades and may not have accessible shoulder-space to avoid collisions that can result in serious injuries or death to the occupants involved.