Is Distracted Driving More Common in Construction Zones?

Driving can be challenging enough when your full attention is on the road and its potential hazards. If anything distracts a driver and causes them to take their eyes off the road, the risk of an accident is increased significantly. Inattentive drivers have been involved in 30.1% of severe crashes in construction work zones in Minnesota. Distracted drivers put themselves and others at risk whenever they talk or text while driving. A distracted driver compromises the safety of passengers in the car, pedestrians, and people in other cars. In construction zones, the reckless behavior of a distracted driver can affect men and women who are simply doing their jobs.

According to the Federal Highway Administration, over 842 people were killed in work zone driving accidents. Of those fatalities, 135 were construction zone workers. In Minnesota, 55 people died, and more than 4,919 people have been injured in work zone traffic crashes. You might be able to file a personal injury claim if you were injured in a construction zone car accident. Consult with a Southern Minnesota personal injury lawyer about the circumstances of your accident.

Challenges to Driving in a Construction Zone

Driving in a construction zone brings about several challenges. For example, the lanes are temporarily made narrower in a construction zone to provide the space needed for equipment and workers. Often in a construction zone, shifting lanes are more common. Lane shifting occurs when workers are moving from one side of the project to the other. In addition, traffic flow is unpredictable in construction zones and there are frequent sudden stops.

All of these challenges require drivers to stay alert. Your eyes should be focused on the road ahead in construction zones, and you should avoid distractions such as your cell phone, eating, drinking, the radio, GPS, or conversing with other passengers.

Legal remedies might be available for people who have been hurt severely in accidents with distracted drivers. Contact an experienced Southern Minnesota personal injury lawyer to discuss your legal options.

Driving Distracted Increases the Risk of Accidents

Distracted driving has claimed roughly 2,800 lives, and it causes thousands of injuries annually. In construction work zones, distracted driving can pose an even more significant problem than in other areas. Distracted drivers have a hard time seeing what is happening around them. A construction worker can be hit easily by a distracted driver because the driver does not have enough time to react.

Texting while driving is dangerous, especially in a highway work zone. A vehicle traveling at 55 MPH covers a distance greater than a football field in five seconds. With the average text taking approximately five seconds to read, a driver would not be paying attention for at least the distance of a football field just to read a text.

In many construction zones, the workers put up clear signals that help guide drivers through the shifting lanes. Workers may put up directional signs or road signs that contain instructions intended to help guide drivers and warn them about construction ahead; however, drivers that are distracted by other things may miss those signs completely. When a driver drifts outside that assigned construction zone area, it can significantly raise the risk of an accident.

Driving distracted is against the law and is typically seen as negligence. A car accident victim may seek compensation from the responsible party. If you have been injured in a construction zone accident, an experienced attorney can assist you in recovering damages for your injury and subsequent medical bills from the negligent party.

Minnesota Distracted Driving Laws

Distracted driving occurs when any driver engages in an activity that distracts them from the task of driving and increases the risk of being involved in an accident. Minnesota’s “Hands-Free” law states that it is against the law for a driver to read, send texts or emails, or access the web while the vehicle is moving, sitting in traffic, or sitting at a stoplight or stop sign.

There are penalties for distracted driving:

  • The first ticket is more than $120, which includes the fine and court costs.
  • Additional tickets are more than $300, which includes the fine plus court fees.

Under the hands-free law, if you injure or kill someone, you can face a felony charge of criminal vehicular operation or homicide. Penalties associated with vehicular homicide can include up to ten years of imprisonment and a monetary fine of up to $20,000. Those who cause bodily harm can be sentenced to up to five years of imprisonment and face a $10,000 fine.

In Minnesota, accident victims generally must make claims against their insurance policies, regardless of who was at fault. If a crash resulted in significant disfigurement, short-term disability, or permanent injury, a victim might seek damages from the at-fault driver. To discuss your options, consider consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney.

Speak to a Southern Minnesota Personal Injury Attorney at Knutson + Casey about Your Accident

Knutson + Casey has been recovering compensation for our wrongfully injured clients since 1992, and we are proud of our success. The award-winning hometown attorneys, Randall Knutson and Patrick Casey, are dedicated to personalized service. We help injured victims understand what to do next and what courses of action are available to them. We will be your navigator through the legal process, and we may be able to help you receive the compensation you deserve.

Our firm works on a contingency basis, so there are no up-front costs to you. We are paid only when we successfully secure compensation to help you cover the medical, vehicular, and other expenses from your accident.

Call us at (507) 344-8888 or contact us online for a no-cost, no-obligation consultation.