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Preventing Injuries in Work Zones

Posted in Work Injury on April 17, 2024

Work zones on or near the roadside are incredibly dangerous for those who work there daily. They take risks to ensure construction projects get completed in a timely manner, and unfortunately, driver negligence contributes to a significant number of injuries and fatalities in these areas each year. Our Phoenix work injury attorneys want to share some tips for preventing work zone injuries and fatalities so you can become part of the safety solution.

Zeroing in on Injury Prevention

Roadside work zones are a common sight across Arizona, signaling progress and maintenance but also presenting hazards to both workers and drivers. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) relays the importance of work zone safety, noting that in the United States, work zone crashes resulted in 842 fatalities in 2019 – a significant increase from the previous year. In Arizona, these areas are particularly perilous due to the state’s construction activities and high-speed highways.

Recognizing the Risks

Work zones are fraught with potential dangers: shifting lanes, reduced speed limits, and the presence of construction workers and equipment near the flow of traffic. The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) reports that the majority of work zone accidents are attributable to speeding and driver inattention. These are not mere statistics; they represent lives at risk, underscoring the need for heightened awareness and adherence to safety measures by all road users.

Legal Penalties for Unsafe Driving in Work Zones

Arizona law takes a strict stance against unsafe driving behaviors in work zones. Penalties for speeding or operating a vehicle recklessly in these areas are severe, with fines doubling for infractions committed in work zones. Moreover, aggressive driving or endangering a worker carries the risk of license suspension, hefty fines, and even jail time. These legal measures underscore the state’s commitment to protecting its workers and ensuring that drivers recognize the gravity of their responsibility.

How Drivers Can Prevent Injuries in Work Zones

Some of the most important strategies for staying safe in the work zones throughout Arizona include:

  • Stay Alert and Minimize Distractions. Always keep your full attention on the road, especially in work zones. Put away cell phones, adjust radio stations or GPS devices before entering a work zone, and never drive while distracted.
  • Adhere to the Posted Speed Limits. Speed limits in work zones are not arbitrary; they are carefully calculated to ensure the safety of both workers and drivers. Remember, fines for speeding can double in these areas, reflecting the increased risk.
  • Respect the Flaggers and Signs. Flaggers have the same authority as regulatory signs. Follow their instructions promptly and watch for signs that provide important information about road conditions and traffic changes.
  • Maintain a Safe Distance. Keep a safe distance between your vehicle and any traffic barriers placed in the area, trucks, construction equipment, and actual workers. Tailgating is particularly dangerous in work zones, where sudden stops are common.
  • Plan Ahead. Expect delays and plan appropriately by leaving early to reach your destination on time. Check traffic reports and consider alternative routes to avoid work zones altogether.
  • Be Patient. Remember that the work zone crews are striving to improve the road and make your future drive better. Patience and courtesy toward other drivers can help prevent accidents and reduce stress.

Becoming Part of the Solution

As drivers, we share the roads with hardworking Arizonans dedicated to maintaining and improving our infrastructure. By adopting a mindful, defensive driving approach and adhering to the safety tips outlined above, we can reduce the risk of accidents in work zones. We can all commit to this together, because your safety depends on our driving, and our safety depends on your driving.