According to The Washington Post, we currently have 15 active work zones on Maryland highways. Back in April as construction season approached, we wrote to warn of the dangers to road-construction workers, passengers and drivers from motor-vehicle accidents in work zones.
As we said then, a driver who ignores posted reductions in speed limits within work zones opens him or herself up to liability in a personal injury suit if someone is hurt or killed in a resulting crash.
In addition, a construction worker injured on the job in an accident can file for Workers’ Compensation and is likely also within his or her rights to file a third-party suit against the reckless or negligent car or truck driver.
Woodrow Wilson Bridge work-zone accident
Unfortunately, work-zone accidents are continuing. For example, WTOP reported in late June that a semi-truck driver had hit several vehicles within a work zone on the Woodrow Wilson Bridge, which spans the Potomac River and connects Oxon Hill, Maryland, and Alexandria, Virginia. Reportedly, he was involved in a previous work-zone accident 25 years ago in which three construction worker died.
While he was reportedly acquitted of charges in the previous accident, in the June accident, the truck driver himself died.
Maryland work-zone cameras
The August 15 Washington Post article reports that 1.3 million speed violations resulted from speed-camera footage in Maryland work zones between 2013 and 2016. While state revenue from these work-zone violations has been on the decline overall in recent years, a spokesperson for AAA Mid-Atlantic attributed this to people getting familiar with work-zone locations and that approximately “40 percent of the people who get these tickets are repeat offenders.”
The AAA spokesperson noted that most accidents in work zones in Maryland happen in the Baltimore or Washington, D.C., metropolitan areas.
According to the Post, authorities lower speed limits in work zones because lane changes and reroutes are challenging for drivers to maneuver, for example, and to keep construction workers safer. The article cites the Maryland DOT for the figure that six people died in 2016 within work zones (one of whom was a construction worker) and many more injured.