The dangers present on roadway construction sites, which the public is directly and regularly exposed to, can be especially hazardous if safety is not assured during all steps of the construction process. Due to constantly changing work zones and insufficient warning signage and construction zones that disobey the laws put in place to keep both workers and the public safe, many are unfortunately involved in serious, even fatal, road construction accidents. In these cases, an experienced litigator is an invaluable asset to have in your corner.
In 2013, the Federal Highway Administration estimated a total of 67,523 accidents in work zones. The year prior, The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health reported Florida as one of the deadliest states for motor vehicle crashes in construction and maintenance work zones. With the growing number of highway and roadway construction projects needed to facilitate Florida’s ever-growing population and tourist attractions, these numbers may very well increase in the years to come.
Maintenance of traffic or (MOT) issues often arise in construction zone accidents. Wieland, Hilado & DeLattre has handled many road construction accidents including those that have sustained catastrophic injuries. An attorney representing you in a road construction accident should have a thorough knowledge of MOT issues and the rules of the road associated with road construction accidents.
To properly draw these areas, maintenance of traffic supervisors have several manuals to assist them to include the Florida Department of Design Standards. In addition, the contract with the road construction company will often times have specific sections devoted to MOT issues and how MOT will be handled.
There are often times situations where an adequate MOT plan is drawn up but then is not set up properly or according to plan. Again, the entire plan requires competent MOT personnel on the job site at all times. For example, we have handled cases in which the MOT plan was sufficient but the incorrect signage was utilized. Proper signage, the use of arrow boards and flaggers can be the difference between life and death.
Every road construction area should have MOT plans in place to include the advanced warning area. The advanced warning area tells motorists about the traffic they should expect to see ahead. The advanced warning area has to be designed separately and specific to the work being performed. Oftentimes, the road construction contractors will hire unqualified MOT supervisors who do not have adequate training and knowledge to prepare an adequate advanced warning area.
Another area is the taper area. This area moves traffic out of its natural path and away from the road construction workers and vehicles.
Next comes the buffer area, which provides additional protection for all motorists and the construction workers. This area is followed by the actual work area, which is set aside for the road construction workers, their equipment and their materials. After the work area comes another taper area that slowly brings traffic to normal driving.
Careful and thoughtful construction into the road construction area is required to protect both the motorists and road construction workers.
Make no mistake–it is your responsibility to drive safely by following posted speed limits, never driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol and avoiding smartphone use while on the road. Each of these safe driving standards will keep you aware of construction zones and the uneven pavement, changing traffic patterns and roadside workers that can all pose serious risks. However, even the safest of drivers can become victimized by construction companies that do not obey the law.
If you are injured due to the negligence of a construction company, Wieland Hilado & DeLattre has the experienced construction site accident attorneys that you need to fight for your claim. Through years of representing victims of road construction accidents, we know the laws, rules and regulations that can be paramount to the success of your case. Do not hesitate to contact us to speak to an attorney as soon as possible; we are ready to help.
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