Roadway Construction A Leading Cause of Motor Vehicle Accidents

By Greg Kohn

How Dangerous are Roadway Construction Projects?

Work zones on highways and local roads are hazardous for motorists, pedestrians and those who are working on the new construction or repair. The worksites often involve speeding vehicles, a number of signs, barrels, flashing lights and lane changes. If the work is done at night, fatigue can be a problem for both drivers and workers. If the work is being performed in bad weather, poor visibility or lack of traction can also worsen already dangerous conditions.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), annual fatalities in roadway construction and maintenance work zones across the country averaged,

• 778 for 1994 – 1999,

• 1060 for 2000 – 2006, and

• 669 for 2007 – 2012.

Fatalities peaked at 1,095 in 2003 and reached a low of 609 in 2012.

Transportation accidents accounted for 66% of fatal roadway worksite injuries in 2013. In 69% of these accidents, a worker on foot was struck by a vehicle. Vehicles backing up are especially dangerous, accounting for 27 of the 48 pedestrian vehicular incidents.

In 2013, 36% of work-related deaths in work zones involved construction laborers, highway maintenance workers, tractor trailer truck drivers, supervisors and construction equipment operators. Privately employed workers were 60% of deaths due to injuries in work zones.

An accident in March on the New Jersey Turnpike near Lawnside shows yet another hazard that roadway construction workers must contend with – drunk drivers. Two construction workers were in a truck parked in the left shoulder in the early morning when they were struck by a vehicle driven by a Brooklyn, New York, man who is facing charges of assault by auto and driving while intoxicated, according to The workers, who were in the process of picking up signs, suffered injuries and were taken to local hospitals.

In early May a driver was killed and three construction workers were injured in an accident on the Pennsylvania Turnpike outside Philadelphia, according to CBS Philly. These workers were hurt while picking up cones to reopen a closed lane. Their vehicle was struck and the driver of the car that hit them was pronounced dead at the scene. One of the workers had to be airlifted to a nearby hospital for treatment of his injuries.

If you or a loved one has been injured on the job at a roadway construction site in Essex County, Newark, Paterson or anywhere in the state of New Jersey, contact the experienced auto accident attorneys at Nagel Rice LLP right away at (973) 618-0400 because statutes of limitations apply.

About the Author
Greg Kohn is a partner at Nagel Rice and specializes in complex civil litigation cases, including professional malpractice, personal injury, class actions, wrongful death, products liability, and commercial litigation.  He has extensive experience representing clients in both state and federal court. Greg has tried many jury trials to verdict and has recovered over $50 million in settlements and verdicts in all types of personal injury matters including automobile accidents, wrongful death cases, slip and falls, and other catastrophic injury cases. Greg also handles medical malpractice cases, involving misdiagnoses, wrongful birth, and delayed cancer diagnosis. If you have questions regarding this article, you can contact Greg here.