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Avoiding Tennessee Construction Zone Collisions and Worker Injuries

Posted on in Personal Injury

Campbell County construction zone worker injury attorney

The state of Tennessee was ranked as having the sixth-highest death rate of construction workers in the years of 2003-2017 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Tennessee had 70 deaths within that time, contributing to a grand total of 1,844 nationwide. Studies show that speeding is the number-one cause of car accident injuries or fatalities in construction zones. In these work areas, the speed limits are decreased in accordance with Tennessee law. Those drivers who do not decrease their speed run the risk of hitting a worker on duty. This can result in at least a misdemeanor charge with a $250 fine or at most a charge of vehicular homicide, which comes with more serious punishments. By obeying the laws and safe driving practices, drivers can help reduce the likelihood of a construction zone accident. 

Tennessee Construction Zone Rules

Drivers in Tennessee are required to slow down when they pass through construction sites; however, it is up to the workers to make sure the proper warning is given so cars can reduce their speed. Signs should be placed along the road to give drivers an ample amount of time to slow down. These signals will usually appear as large orange signs, but they can also include:

  • Black and white regulatory signs

  • White and red signs (i.e., stop signs)

  • Portable and changeable message signs

  • Temporary guide and directional signs

  • Road closed signs

Orange barrels, cones, and other barriers may also be used to guide drivers safely through a construction zone. Drivers who choose not to slow their speed when proper signage is given will be charged with a Class B misdemeanor if workers are present at the time of the incident.

Other punishments can be issued if a worker is hit on site. In some scenarios, signs are placed near the beginning of the work zone to alert drivers about the type of fine that will be issued if a worker is hit. Motorists may also be expected to compensate the worker for any medical bills, depending on the circumstances. If a worker is struck and killed, the driver could possibly face charges of vehicular homicide, which is a Class B felony punishable by a prison term of 8 to 30 years.

How to Keep Construction Zones Safe

Drivers should slow their rate of speed as soon as they see the signs that a construction zone is coming up. Abiding by the speed limit posted on site will ensure that workers will be seen by drivers, who can then react faster if a worker suddenly enters the road.

Other tips for driving through construction zones include:

  • Drivers should always check all mirrors and look over their shoulders before merging into a free lane. Also, they should be courteous and allow other drivers who are coming from a lane that is closing to enter an available lane.

  • Plan ahead; if a lane is about to become closed, drivers should merge into the free lane immediately instead of waiting until the last second.

  • If a car breaks down in a construction zone, the driver should turn on their hazard lights and call the police. If possible, the driver should move the car onto the shoulder to let traffic through the scene.

In the event of a collision in a construction zone, the involved parties should call the police. Once law enforcement personnel arrive, they will write an official report about the accident. If necessary, an ambulance will take injured parties to the nearest hospital.

Contact a Jacksboro, TN Personal Injury Lawyer

Other than helmets, construction zone workers often do not have much protection from vehicles. If you are a worker who was struck by a vehicle, you may be left with severe injuries that could take a long time to heal. The recovery process can also be costly, and you may have trouble receiving compensation from the driver responsible for causing the accident. That is why it is imperative that you hire a lawyer from the Law Offices of William F. Evans. To schedule a free consultation with a Campbell County car accident lawyer, call our office today at 423-449-7980.

 

Sources:

https://www.lawserver.com/law/state/tennessee/tn-code/tennessee_code_55-8-153

https://www.tn.gov/tdot/work-with-us/work-zone-safety-faqs.html

https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/highwayworkzones/default.html

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