Are Drivers Always to Blame for Crashes That Happen in Road Work Zones?
There is always a lot of road construction in Las Vegas, which increases the risk of a work zone crash. Unfortunately, the number of work zone crashes has continued to rise, both in Nevada and nationwide. This is often due to speeding and distracted drivers. However, are drivers always responsible for a construction zone crash? High Stakes Injury Law discuss liability for road work zone crashes. Learn when construction companies or road workers may be to blame, and Nevada’s strict penalties when drivers ignore traffic laws in a work zone. Our Las Vegas traffic accident lawyers have extensive experience handling car crash claims, and we are always ready to help. Unsure if you have a case? You can get more information in the free consultation we offer. Call our law offices to schedule yours.
Are Drivers Always Liable for Crashes in a Work Zone?While drivers remain the biggest cause of collisions in construction zones, they are not always at fault. Sometimes construction companies, or even one or more road workers, may be liable. These are just a few examples of how work zone crashes happen due to the negligence of a construction company or road worker:
- Badly placed, confusing, inaccurate or missing signage
- Machinery or other equipment placed too close to traffic
- Sudden road drop-offs, causing a driver to lose vehicle control
- Unclear transition areas directing vehicles back into traffic
- Debris or equipment left on the road by a construction worker
- Lanes that are too narrow for traffic to pass through safely
- Road workers or flaggers who dart unexpectedly in the path of a vehicle
- Badly designed detours that cause vehicles to turn suddenly or sharply
- Confusing signage that causes a driver to end up in wrong-way traffic
- Signage that is placed too close to allow adequate response time
- Poorly lit detours that make it difficult to see signage, the route or workers
How Drivers May Be Partly or Fully LiableEven the best-planned work zones become dangerous when inattentive, reckless, impaired, fatigued or speeding drivers pass through. While many drivers may take proper precautions when traveling through a work zone, it only takes one negligent driver to cause a serious or fatal collision, such as by:
- Driving too fast and/or driving too close to another vehicle in a work zone, causing a rear-end or chain reaction crash
- Texting and other distractions that cause the driver to miss detour signage, and hitting a worker or another vehicle
- Ending up in a wrong-way crash due to being impaired by fatigue, alcohol or drugs and missing the signage
Nevada’s Revised Statute 484B.130To help reduce the number of work zone collisions, and protect both drivers and road workers, Nevada implemented revised statute 484B.130. Under this law, drivers who commit certain traffic violations in a work zone will receive twice the maximum penalty. These penalties may include an additional $1,000 in fines, 120 hours of community service, and up to six months in jail. Some of the specific traffic violations under this law include:
- Texting while driving
- Reckless or aggressive driving
- Doing illegal U-turns
- Driving while intoxicated
- Driving with any open containers of alcohol
- Unsafe passing maneuvers
How Do Drivers Know if They Are in a Work Zone?In Nevada, a road work zone can be any location that has been designated as a temporary traffic control area. This includes when construction, road, utility and other workers are present and performing their duties. Drivers must be notified, by a “Double Penalties in Work Zones” sign, as well as other clearly marked signage to alert drivers when they are entering and leaving a work zone.
Reducing Your Risk of Being in a Work Zone CrashWhile you cannot control the behavior of others, you can take steps to reduce your risk of being in a work zone crash. These steps include:
- Staying informed: Find out where road work is happening on the routes you often travel.
- Avoiding construction work zones: If you are uncomfortable driving through a work zone, find alternative routes.
- Researching detours ahead of time when possible: Often news channels and local or state websites have these details.
- Allowing extra time: You are less likely to speed or take other risks if you are not feeling pressured by time constraints.
- Remaining alert: Be watchful for both large work zones and smaller mobile work zones, such as for utility repairs.