Construction zone and road work accidents are increasing, according to MDOT. Do your part to keep yourself and highway workers safe
As fun and relaxing as summer can be, for exasperated commuters the season is always an exercise in patience. Being stuck in a hot car when road construction season is in full swing isn’t a summer picnic. But there is a bigger problem — construction zone and road work accidents.
It’s inevitable if you leave your home that you’ll come across some form of road work this summer, whether it’s a surface repaving, a redesigned intersection or lanes being widened. Part of the price of those Michigan winters is that we all must put up with orange barrels along the traffic lines, closed shoulders and miles-out-of-our-way detours when the weather warms.
Watch out for construction workers and road work accidents
Don’t forget who’s on the other side of your car when you’re slowing in construction zones: the construction workers, who are especially vulnerable out there with cars and trucks driving past them.
Think about the flaggers standing guard as they alternate traffic flow on roads that temporarily have just one lane open. They’re often little more than a foot or two away from moving traffic.
Car crashes and car accidents in work zones have increased in the past year, according to MDOT. Last year saw:
- 17 fatalities in road work zones (up from 15 in 2015)
- 75 serious injuries in construction zones (up from 69)
- 4,908 total car crashes in work areas (up from 4,776)
Steer clear of road work accidents
If you’re able to avoid any of the construction spots on the MDOT’s schedule, our auto accident attorneys encourage you to do so. The best way to do this is by planning things out ahead.
But if you can’t avoid work zones, here are some things you should know about driving in Michigan road work zones:
- Follow the orange signs: Construction signs are in orange and they indicate traffic lane changes and speed limit reductions. Be alert and read them, even when driving the same route frequently, as information can change when progress on the road is made.
- Avoid driving while distracted: As always, do not eat, talk on your cellphone, text and drive or engage in any other activities that will take away from your driving concentration.
- Stay alert: Pay extra attention to your surroundings while in construction work zones. Scan the road for moving equipment, workers and construction vehicles.
- Watch out for commercial trucks: Large trucks are more likely to be involved in a road work accident because of their greater size, length and weight. Here’s a primer on how to drive safely around trucks.
- Stay patient: Don’t allow impatient or speeding drivers to change the way you drive. Be aware of tailgaters and drivers on the shoulder. Leave enough space between you and the cars and trucks around you.
What is Michigan’s work zone construction law and legal consequences for breaking it?
According to MDOT, during Michigan’s busy road construction season, motorists are required to reduce their speed to 45 miles per hour in any freeway work zone where workers are present, unless a concrete barrier wall exists between the workers and the vehicles.
If you go too fast in Michigan construction zones, you face a lot more than a speeding ticket:
- Doubled fines
- More points on your Michigan license
- Increased auto insurance rates
- Jail and fines
P.A. 103, known as “Andy’s Law,” went into effect in October 2001. The law created penalties of up to 1 year in prison for injuring and up to 15 years in prison for killing a highway construction or maintenance worker. It also imposes a maximum penalty of $7,500. The law is named for Andrew Lefko, a 19-year-old who was paralyzed after being hit while working on Interstate 275 in Metro Detroit.
With that, all of our attorneys and staff wish you and your family safe travels and a fun and safe summer.