Deadly Construction-Related Auto Accidents
Car accidents can happen anywhere and at anytime. While many Illinois drivers take precautions when they’re on the highways, they don’t realize the serious risks of injury when they’re driving around construction sites. According to a recent article in the Journal & Courier, an Illinois semi-truck driver caused a fiery crash that killed five people. How did the accident happen? The driver had been speeding in a construction zone. Because of the driver’s “failure to slow down with traffic as he headed into a construction zone,” his truck first struck a passenger vehicle before plowing into a second passenger vehicle and a trailer. The truck then caught on fire.
This recent auto accident emphasizes the need to slow down and abide by lowered speed limits in highway construction areas, but it also underscores the serious risk of auto accidents in or around construction zones. Let’s take a look at recent data concerning construction-related traffic collisions.
Car Accidents and Injuries in Work Zones
The U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration (FHA) provides a fact sheet on car crashes in work zones. Annually, nearly 90,000 auto accidents occur in work zones. While this number represents only a small portion of the total car crashes that take place on America’s highways each year (under 2 percent), it’s nonetheless a very high number. Of the accidents that occur in construction areas, less than 1 percent are fatal. However, 30 percent of those collisions lead to serious personal injuries.
When do most of these accidents occur? While it might sound logical to assume that more dangerous traffic collisions happen at night, about 70 percent of auto accident fatalities around construction zones occurred between normal business hours (8 a.m. and 5 p.m.). Indeed, a report from the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) indicated that “working at night does not result in a significantly greater crash risk for an individual motorist traveling through the work zone than does working during the day.”
Types of Traffic Collisions in Construction Areas
What kinds of crashes tend to occur in work zones? For both night work and day work, the types of auto accidents are as follows:
- Rear-end crashes: during the day, rear-end crashes make up nearly half of all reported accidents in construction zones, while they account for about one-third of all reported nighttime accidents.
- Fixed-object collisions: these accidents tend to occur more frequently at night, accounting for anywhere from one-quarter to one-third of reported nighttime accidents. Fixed-object collisions during the daytime, however, make up only between 10 to 20 percent of reported crashes.
- Sideswipe collisions: during both daytime and nighttime construction work, sideswipe collisions account for anywhere from about 15 to 20 percent of crashes reported.
About 12 percent of construction worker injuries result from auto accidents every year. Both vehicle passengers and work area employees can sustain serious and even fatal injuries in these collisions, and it’s important to slow down and take precautions when you’re driving through a work zone.
Contact a Chicago Auto Accident Lawyer
If you or someone you love sustained injuries in a car accident that occurred in a construction zone, you should seek advice from an experienced auto accident lawyer in Chicago. An advocate at Woodruff Johnson & Evans can discuss your case with you today.