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Distracted drivers and highway work zone crashes

Drivers will want to be careful around Missouri highway work zones. The narrow lanes and the high chance of drivers ignoring the reduced speed limit all contribute to the risk for a crash in these zones. The reality is that a highway work zone crash arises every 5.4 minutes around the country.

Now, a study conducted by University of Missouri researchers shows that distracted drivers run a very high risk for a crash or near-collision in these zones: a 29 times higher risk, in fact. This is regardless of how long the drivers are inattentive, which means that drivers who are, say, conversing with a passenger or adjusting the radio are in as much danger as drivers who call and text.

The effect of phones on driving should not be underestimated. A driver going 55 mph and taking five seconds to send or read a text can travel the length of a whole football field before bringing his or her eyes back up to the road.

The study’s results, which are based on naturalistic driving study data and were published in the Journal of the Transportation Research Board, may prove helpful to state transportation agencies, though. These agencies, along with the Federal Highway Administration, are considering “behavioral countermeasures” like texting bans as a way to improve safety.

Motor vehicle accidents that involve a distracted or inattentive driver could pave the way for a personal injury claim, but victims may want a lawyer to assess their case before moving forward with one. If victims have a good chance of receiving a settlement, then the lawyer may take the case on, hire investigators to gather proof of the defendant’s negligence and proceed to negotiations. If a settlement cannot be achieved out of court, victims may discuss with their lawyer about filing a lawsuit.