With spring around the corner, and multiple major construction projects already underway on Georgia highways, it’s an opportune time to remind motorists to slow down in work zones.Our Atlanta work accident lawyers know that 85 percent of all work zone deaths across the country are caused by the general public. Since Georgia began to tally the number of Department of Transportation fatalities back in 1973, there have been 57 workers killed in work zones. There have been countless injuries.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that from 2003 through 2007, some 640 road construction workers across the country lost their lives, with nearly half of those occurring when a worker was hit by a motor vehicle. Another 40,000 people are believed to have suffered serious injuries as a result of work zone crashes (that includes both workers and drivers).
When you factor in both the public and workers, Georgia loses an average of 60 people each year in work zone crashes. Making the public aware of these sobering statistics – and what more they can be doing to keep these workers safe – is going to be key as we move ahead into the busier summer season.
Right now, the state DOT has six major road construction projects in the Metro Atlanta area, and two more going on statewide.
There is the road resurfacing project on I-25 that stretches from Cobb to DeKalb Counties. There is also the Johnson Ferry/Abernathy Road Widening Project in Atlanta, the Northside Drive project in Cobb/Fulton, the Old Alabama Road Project in Fulton, a number of State Route 20 improvements in both Fulton and Cherokee and updates to the State Route 316 Interchange.
Drivers should avail themselves of information on possible delays or detours by visiting the DOT’s active projects page. This way, if you know you are going to be pressing your luck with time, you won’t be tempted to speed through a work zone, as you’ll already have an alternate route planned. (Speeding in a Georgia work zone, by the way, may result in fines of up to $2,000 or a maximum of one year in jail or both.)
Also note that Georgia is one of many states with a “Move Over Law.” This law requires any driver approaching a working emergency vehicle on the side of the road to move over one lane if possible, or otherwise slow to below the posted speed limit and be prepared to stop if necessary. While it’s not necessary to move over a lane when you see construction workers on the job, if traffic conditions would allow you to do so safely, it wouldn’t hurt.
Other tips the Georgia DOT asks that you keep in mind as you approach a highway work zone:
- Slow down. Excessive speed is the No. 1 most common cause of work zone crashes.
- Make sure you have read all the signs. They are in place for your safety. If you are traveling too fast to read them, you probably need to slow down.
- Pace yourself. If you are tailgating other drivers or construction vehicles, you’re putting all involved at higher risk for a crash.
- Road crew flaggers should be treated as if they are traffic signals. Their signs are not suggestions – the law requires you obey them.
- Pay attention. Put your phone done. Especially when you are traveling through a highway work zone, you can’t afford to miss a moment.
If you were the victim of a road construction injury in Atlanta, contact J. Franklin Burns, P.C., to speak with an experienced attorney. For a free consultation call 1-404-303-7770 today.