Experience Brings Results

Rash of flagger accidents prompts safety warning

The greater Portland area and other parts of Oregon have been experiencing some rough times of late when it comes to flaggers in area construction zones getting hit by cars. Over the last couple of weeks, the frequency of these auto-pedestrian accidents has even gotten the attention of one state agency.

In one incident in the eastern part of this state, a flagger died after a drunk driver struck her. The driver kept traveling through the construction zone after hitting the flagger and eventually was stopped. He faces serious criminal charges.

Another accident that happened in the Salem area left another flagger seriously injured, and yet another accident, this one on the other side of the Columbia River in Washington, left a flagger with serious injuries to her legs and back. Sadly, investigators believe this particular incident may have been the result of the road rage of a driver who got tired of waiting at the construction zone.

The Oregon Department of Transportation issued a safety reminder to all motorists in the wake of these accidents, indicating that it finds the number of workers getting hurt on the roads to be unacceptably high. The Department also advised the public that if this trend continues, future road construction projects will have to involve the full-out closing of the road, causing additional traffic delays.

The workers who were injured should be able to get some benefits through workers' compensation. These benefits should at least pay for medical bills and some lost wages, but they may not be enough to make these injured workers completely whole financially. Additional action, such as suing the responsible drivers in a personal injury case, may be a necessary step.

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