Jim Adler | The Tough, Smart Lawyer
By Jim Adler April 27, 2017

road work accidents texas
photo by jakes47s (iStock by Getty)
Texas drivers often crash around road work due to obstacles, barriers and sudden rerouting of streets and highways. While some work zone car wrecks are drivers’ fault, they also can be due to poorly paced traffic cones, barrels, fences, signs and other indicators of road work, and failure to alert drivers of road work in time for them to respond. Victims of road work accidents can contact an experienced car accident lawyer to explore their legal right to payments for their losses.

San Antonio Hit by Work Zone Accidents

In San Antonio, road work led to two crashes this week on Interstate 35 near North New Braunfels Avenue — ironically, during what’s known as National Work Zone Awareness Week (April 3-7). Parts of I-35 had to be closed for two consecutive days when vehicles slammed into crash cushions which were part of that work zone. On April 5, 2017, a car hitting a crash cushion led to water spilling onto the highway, which had to be shut down during morning rush hours. On April 4, a similar crash occurred, leading to all but one northbound lane of I-35 being closed. Reportedly even more auto accidents have happened in the same road work area. It’s believed a temporary concrete wall — placed to divert traffic around the road work — is hard for drivers to see until it’s too late. Some have swerved to avoid hitting it and have struck crash cushions instead. Road work crews in the area are replacing a bridge at North New Braunfels Avenue and are demolishing an old connector to southbound I-410. Traffic must be temporarily rerouted in that work zone.

State Blames Drivers for Road Work Wrecks

The Texas Department of Public Safety tends to blame all road work accidents on drivers, rather than the state’s work crews. The DPS says drivers are to blame for following vehicles too closely, for failing to heed road work warnings and barriers, for failing to control speed and for failing to drive in a single lane. While the last two causes are most common and may cause many road work crashes, work zones also could be poorly marked and managed by road work crews. Barricades and signs should be placed well in advance of road work, and temporary changes to reroute the roadway should divert traffic gradually, not suddenly. That doesn’t always happen. In any event, drivers are required to by law to slow down and move over as they approach road work crews. In fact, Texas traffic fines in work zones double when road workers are present. Such road work fines can be as high as $2,000 for a single offense.

Texas Road Work Crashes are Worsening

Clearly, more driver caution — and tighter road crew standards — are needed, especially since Texas leads the nation in work zone deaths. Texas has had the highest rate of work zone accident deaths of any state since 1994, and recently, Texas road work collisions have gotten worse. In 2014, a total of 146 Texans died in road work crashes — almost 30 per cent more than the 104 work zone fatalities in 2013. Of those deaths, nearly 90 per cent were drivers, not construction crew workers. The total number of Texas road work crashes in 2014 was 19,393, or about 12 per cent more than the previous year. In 2016, Texas work zone deaths rose 27 per cent over 2015, with 181 Texans being killed and many more being injured, often seriously. Of the fatalities, 96 per cent were not road workers, but rather the drivers or passengers of vehicles, as well as bicyclists and pedestrians. To be sure, Texas’ population is booming, which means more drivers on roads and perhaps more road work collisions. But drivers alone aren’t always to blame.

Tips to Avoid Road Work Accidents

Since you can’t count on the state to provide sufficient safety measures in road work areas, and since the Texas Department of Transportation has up to 2,500 active work zones, you may want some tips to avoid road work collisions:
  • Be alert for orange barrels or orange cones indicating a work zone.
  • When you see a sign indicating a work zone ahead, reduce speed and be prepared to slow down further or even to stop if necessary.
  • Don’t tailgate other drivers ever, and certainly not near a work zone, where drivers ahead of you may be forced to stop suddenly due to road work hazards.
  • Be alert to road work crews performing their duties. It’s a difficult and hazardous job, and you owe them your caution.

Get a Road Work Accident Lawyer

If you’ve been injured in a work zone collision through no fault of your own, you can get a road work crash lawyer by contacting Jim Adler & Associates. Perhaps another driver caused the crash which injured you in a work zone. Or perhaps poorly marked work zone led to your crash. In either case, notify a car wreck lawyer or injury attorney with our law firm today, and get the legal help you need to claim payments for your road work accident injury.
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