Fatalities and injuries within work zones are increasing at an alarming rate. In 2014, the Department of Transportation recorded 669 work zone fatalities in highway construction zones. This was a sharp increase of 13% over the previous year. It also represents the highest recorded fatality rate since 2009. Of these fatalities, 116 were highway workers while the rest were motorists, their passengers, or pedestrians.
Injuries within work zones are also rising at an alarming rate. In 2014, there were 31,251 work zone injuries. This was a 9% increase over the previous year. Alarmingly the number of accidents involving large vehicles is skyrocketing. In 2014, 246 semi-trucks or buses were involved in accidents within work zones. This was a 27% increase over 2013.
When accidents occur in construction zones, it is largely the motorist and their passengers that pay the price. Drivers and their passengers account for 82% of work zone fatalities nationwide. The increase is also being felt in Nevada where the state has recorded 225 fatalities to date this year. This is an increase of 16 fatalities over the same period last year. This increase has been due in part to an increase in the number of work zone accidents in the state.
It is estimated that accidents and fatalities within work zones cost construction companies upwards of $3.5 billion per year. This figure doesn’t include the costs related to the property damage and personal injuries sustained by drivers and their passengers who are injured or killed in these crashes.
In the United States, the average motor vehicle death costs $1,130,000, while a nonfatal crash causing a disabling injury costs $61,600. On average, a motor vehicle crash causes $7,500 in personal property damage. These costs add up quickly and can quickly rise when the costs of long-term care and treatment are factored in.
Contributing Factors Vary Significantly
Collisions with barriers and construction equipment occur largely due to the close proximity of moving vehicles with these large and often stationary objects. However, there are other factors that come into play including distracted driving. In 2014, distracted driving played a factor in 16% of fatal work zone crashes, and speeding played a role in 29%. Other factors seen by car accident attorneys in Las Vegas include alcohol, poor vehicle maintenance, and ineffective signage identifying the work zone.