Are Highway Work Zones More Dangerous For Workers or For Drivers?

By Peter DePaolis

Most of us know instinctively to slow down as we drive near highway work zones. The men and women in orange vests and hardhats at these sites risk their lives every day to make sure that our lanes are paved, our streetlights work and our roads are safe.

And while it is important for us all to remember to be safe around these workers, we must also be safe for a reason that hits closer to home. Our own safety is at risk every time we speed through a highway work zone.

construction zone accidentsAt one Virginia highway work site, the three lanes on the right side of eastbound I-495 were being repaved, while the three left lanes remained open to through traffic. There was, however, a 3-inch ridge between the old pavement and the new lanes.

A motorcyclist was killed when he was thrown from his bike after he struck the lip of new pavement, and lost control of his bike. He was thrown into another lane, and then struck by a car. The man died at the scene.

No charges were filed against the car’s driver, who was unhurt.

I Was Hit While Slowing Down in a Work Zone. What Should I Do?

Remember to proceed with care in work zones for your own safety. Slow your vehicle and pay attention to the other cars around you. Work-zone accidents kill as many as 700 people in a given year, and most of those deaths are drivers and their passengers. If a negligent driver in a work zone injured you, contact an experienced Virginia personal injury lawyer to discuss your case.

And don’t forget: Virginia, Maryland and DC are ‘contributory negligence’ states. This means that if you are involved in an accident and you are even 1 percent at fault, you are not entitled to collect damages. Call us before you speak to anyone else—we will help you navigate this legal minefield!

Did You Know? There were 37,476 injuries in work zones in 2010. This equals one work zone injury every 14 minutes, or about four people injured every hour.

Koonz, McKenney, Johnson & DePaolis L.L.P.

Maryland, Washington, D.C. and Virginia Injury Attorneys


About the Author
Peter DePaolis joined the firm in 1980 and has since represented a large number of individuals involved in automobile collisions, truck accidents, bus crashes, defective products, and medical malpractice cases. A significant portion of Mr. DePaolis’ practice is devoted to working on behalf of people suffering from asbestosis, mesothelioma, and other asbestos-related cancers. He has led his firm’s fight against the asbestos industry and has recovered over $30 million in damages for asbestos victims and their families.