Texas has nearly 80,000 miles of state and U.S. highways, interstate, and farm-to-market roads, more than any other state. Naturally, that much roadway requires consistent maintenance.
Construction can be frustrating and add a lot of time to your commute, but it’s important to slow down and pay attention; fines for speeding and accidents are astronomical if they occur in a construction zone.
If you’ve been in a construction accident in Texas, Brian White has the experience to handle your case. Don’t deal with insurance or a lawsuit by yourself, contact a dedicated attorney who will fight on your behalf for fair compensation.
Texas Highway Construction Zone Accidents Common Causes
Speed and distraction are perhaps the two biggest factors when it comes to construction zone accidents. When going through a construction area, some drivers tend to not slow down as much as they should or perhaps lose focus for seconds at a time. Either one of these is potentially dangerous when there are cones, barrels, and workers present.
Construction Zone Accident Statistics
In 2015, there were more than 22,000 work zone crashes in the state of Texas. Harris County (Houston) had the most such accidents – more than 3,000 – of any county in the state. Of those 3,000, 511 of them involved injuries but only eight were fatal. From 2003-2014, Texas had 156 road construction zone fatalities, the most of any state in the country.
Nationally, the number of work zone fatalities has been in a fluctuating trend over the past few years; there were 133, 105, 119 and 138 deaths in the years 2012-2015, respectively. From 2003-2014, 68 percent of work-related deaths happened in a construction zone.
Texas Highway Construction Zone Laws
The effort to curb construction zone accidents means there are high fines to pay for violations in these areas. Similar to many other states, fines double in a work zone; in Texas, this applies to all violations, not just for speeding.
For example, it’s a $500 fine for using your cell phone while driving in the city of Austin; do this in work zone and you could be looking at a $1,000 fine. There is no statewide law on cell phone use in Texas, nor is there one in the city of Houston.
Texas is one of 24 states that require workers to actually be present at the construction zone for the double fine to take effect. A sign designating that you are in a work zone must be visible as well.
The Texas Department of Transportation (DOT) advises that you be attentive, follow posted speed limits and exercise patience when going through a construction zone; a few minutes delay is far better than causing an accident and paying thousands of dollars in fines, or worse.
What Should I Do If I’m In a Construction Zone Accident?
The first thing you should do after any car accident is assess your own well-being. If you are injured or merely suspect you have been injured, seek medical attention as soon as possible. Next, if you are able, try to steer your vehicle to the side of the road, or out of the way of traffic in general. Be careful when you do this, as the road may not be normal, given that you are in a construction zone.
As with any other type of accident, there’s information that you need to collect: the other driver’s name, their license and insurance numbers, as well as the make and model of their vehicle. If you’re able, obtain witness information, document the scene using as much detail as possible and take pictures.
Finally, file a police report. The information you give here should be as accurate as you can make it, because the report will be referenced in settlement negotiations and in the event of a lawsuit.
If you’ve been in a highway construction zone accident in Houston, then you deserve to be represented by a dedicated attorney, particularly if there were injuries. Brian White has the knowledge and negotiation experience to work with the insurance companies and make sure you are treated fairly.