Traffic Accidents in Beltway Work Zones and Road Construction Areas

As motorists, we have all seen those warning signs near roadway construction zones advising caution when travelling through work zones and even threatening increased monetary penalties for traffic offenses committed in these areas. While the threat of bodily harm surely exists for road crews repairing highway pavement, beltway overpasses and freeway infrastructure, there is also a fair amount of danger facing the road-going public in these construction zones as well.

Spending their fair share of time behind the wheel as our staff does, the attorneys at the law offices of Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC, have seen first-hand the various types of potential traffic hazards that crop up on Maryland roadways. Across the nation, an estimated four out of five people killed in a work zone accident are surprisingly not highway construction workers at all but actually drivers and vehicle occupants traveling past the area.

For this reason alone, we always remind colleagues, friends and family members to exercise extreme caution at the first hint of those bright orange cones or barrels that indicate roadway work zones. Sadly, however, many Maryland drivers do not take these warning indicators or the numerous caution signs as seriously as they should. It has been estimated by the Maryland DOT (Department of Transportation) that more than 2,000 traffic accidents take place in or around work zones every year, resulting in hundreds of injuries and even some fatalities.

While only a handful of deaths occur in our state each year as a result of a work zone-related traffic collision, there are about 700 fatalities throughout the United States each year from car, truck and motorcycle crashes in roadway construction zones. Naturally, construction workers are also at risk during these events as they often must perform their jobs mere feet from the passing traffic. Police and other emergency responders as well can find themselves at risk of being hit by a passing motor vehicle when on the roadside as well.

As Baltimore personal injury lawyers and auto/truck accident attorneys, the legal team at Lebowitz & Mzhen know that reducing one’s speed when entering a Maryland work zone can make all the difference when it comes to the safety of passenger car drivers and passengers. Obeying warning signs, slowing down and staying alert as cars and trucks funnel down to one or two lanes near work zones is the best approach. And always be watchful for aggressive drivers who may be aggravated by a traffic slowdown.

Of course, there are more than enough ways for a motorist to be hurt in a Maryland car, motorcycle or commercial trucking accident, but increasing one’s chances by speeding through a roadside work zone is definitely one of the more preventable scenarios. Besides excessive speed, jockeying for position as travel lanes merge, tailgating and failure to yield the right of way are all actions that can trigger an automobile crash in a work zone.

Sometimes even the most cautious driver can be caught off guard when passing through a work zone. Potential hazards that can cause a motorist to lose control of his or her vehicle include defective pavement; poor, incorrectly placed or missing signage and other markings; or highway construction machinery partially projecting into a travel lane. Whatever the problem, the results can be serious or even life-threatening.

Nationwide, work zone-related car wrecks take hundreds of lives annually. Edge-of-pavement drop-off accidents alone result in about 150 deaths each year while causing another 10,000 injury accidents every 12 months. One sobering statistic, which shows that more than 80 percent of people killed in work zone-related traffic accidents are actually motorists themselves should be sufficient proof to influence drivers to slow down and take it easy in these dangerous areas.

As automobile and trucking accident lawyers, the legal team at Lebowitz & Mzhen knows that there is not much difference in the actual bodily injuries sustained during a highway collision on the open road and those received in a beltway construction zone crash. Whether a motorist receives third-degree burns, serious internal injuries or closed-head trauma, the negligent party should be held responsible for the accident-related medical costs and rehabilitation expenses following the crash.

Whether it’s a distracted commercial truck driver rear-ending a minivan carrying a family on vacation or an alcohol-impaired motorist who failed to yield to a flagman before colliding with another passenger car, the laws of Maryland provide recourse for victims of these kinds of negligent injury-related traffic accidents. Recovering the cost of medical treatment, hospital stays and long-term nursing care is the job of automobile and trucking-related injury accident lawyers.

While nobody can stop every one of the dozens of car, truck and motorcycle collisions that occur on a daily basis across the country, we can offer the following suggestions to drivers that may help to reduce the number of work zone highway accidents that take place each year here in Maryland. Here are a few:

  • Observe the posted speed limit, especially the temporary limits in construction areas
  • Do not tailgate the vehicle ahead of you
  • Maintain a heightened level of alertness when approaching and traveling through a roadway work zone
  • Be ready for the unexpected
  • Pay strict attention to posted warning signs throughout work zones
  • Pay extra attention to a flagman’s directions
  • Stay clear of roadway workers and large construction equipment
  • Turn your radio off and open a window to better hear warning sounds that may occur in work zones
  • Stay off your cellphone

As Maryland automobile and trucking accident attorneys, we know that by everyone doing his or her part to maintain safety on the road we may all be better off -- motorists, pedestrians, passengers and highway workers. In cases where negligence has occurred, the professional legal staff at Lebowitz & Mzhen is ready to assist victims and their families recover costs due them. If you or someone you love has sustained injuries in an automobile accident, please feel free to schedule a no-obligation consultation with one of our attorneys. You may email Jack Lebowitz or Vadim Mzhen; or call us toll-free at (800) 654-1949.