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The majority of car accidents in work zones happen during daylight hours

| Oct 13, 2014 | Motor Vehicle Accident

The highways and roads in Illinois and across the United States require thousands of hours of construction and maintenance each year. Much research has been conducted in order to create the safest environment for workers, as well as to protect vehicles that must pass through the area.

Inconclusive research in the past suggested that a car accident is more likely to occur in a work zone after dark, but statistical data indicates otherwise. For example, a study published by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration showed that nearly three out of every four work zone fatalities between 2003 and 2007 took place from 8:00 a.m. to 4:59 p.m.

Work zones include many safety factors to reduce risk

The Federal Highway Administration defines a work zone as a roadway under construction or maintenance that is typically marked with signs. The zone extends from the first indicator to the last, and warnings and safety devices may include the following:

  • Barriers
  • Channeling devices
  • Flashing lights
  • Pavement markings
  • Construction vehicles

Traffic speeds are typically reduced to increase safety. Road construction is often better performed at night because of workspace access and high levels of traffic during daylight hours.

Studies show peak safety hours in work zones

In a study conducted between 2000 and 2005 and published by the National Cooperative Highway Research Program, researchers collected construction and crash data to compare daytime and nighttime safety for both workers and vehicle passengers. The majority of the accidents that took place after dark happened when construction employees were present. The presence of construction activity increased daytime accident numbers, as well. Combining all the crash numbers, there were 2,702 accidents during the day, but only 532 occurred after dark.

In 2013, an Associated General Contractors of America study reported that vehicles crashed in 45 percent of the highway contractors’ construction sites. In spite of the seemingly high risks of functioning so close to vehicles, the motorist is much more likely to experience injuries and fatalities than the construction workers. There were 609 fatalities in highway work zone accidents in 2012. This was a 3 percent increase over the previous year. About 20 percent of these fatalities involved large commercial vehicles.

Work zone accident statistics for Illinois show that the annual average of more than 5,900 crashes result in property damage, but around 30 percent are injury crashes. On average, 24 motorists and three workers are killed annually in highway construction zones.

An individual who is injured by another vehicle in a work zone should be compensated for property damage, medical expenses, pain and suffering. A Chicago injury attorney familiar with the state’s laws and statutes can ensure that the victim’s legal rights are not violated.