A previous post on this blog talked about a series of accidents in and around Portland and the rest of Oregon that left several flaggers at work zones either seriously injured or, in one case, dead.
Judging by relatively recent statistics from the Oregon Department of Transportation, the state experiences just under 500 crashes annually that are related in some way to a work zone. Of these, 13 end with someone experiencing a serious injury each year; an average of 5 crashes a year wind up killing at least one person. Across the country, between 600 and 700 people die annually in construction zone accidents.
While it might seem counterintuitive, those who most often wind up getting hurt or dying in work zone crashes are not construction workers but motorists passing through the work zone. Of all deaths, 85 percent of victims are occupying a car passing through the work zone as opposed to being workers alongside the road.
Still, those who work the highway or 6 times more likely to get hurt on the job as opposed to workers in other industries.
According to this report, the biggest contributor to auto-pedestrian accidents and other accidents in highway work zones is distracted or inattentive driving. Not observing the speed limit, or just going too fast for the conditions, is another significant factor with respect to these types of accidents.
Whatever the reason, drivers going through construction zones have an obligation to slow down and pay special attention to the road. If they do not do so, they may wind up injuring even killing other motorists or construction workers. Should this happen, the negligent driver may be held responsible to pay compensation to victims.