Auto accidents can happen anywhere in Alabama, but there are some areas and circumstances where there is a higher risk of them. One such situation is in work zones. People who are performing their jobs in these locations where traffic is passing by are inherently vulnerable. In addition to the speeds at which vehicles travel, drivers are also distracted, may be under the influence or are simply frustrated that traffic is slowed due to necessary roadwork for maintenance, repairs and improvements. A new law went into effect on July 1, but that does not automatically mean work zones will immediately be safer.
Drivers who violate new work zone law will face fines
The law was changed in early 2021 after there was a spike in fatal work zone auto accidents in 2020. The numbers have yet to be fully compiled and assessed, but so far, researchers have found nearly 2,400 work zone accidents in the state in 2020. In those, 616 people were injured and 19 people died. Counted in the numbers are drivers, people in the vehicles and workers. If a traffic law is broken in a work zone and the driver is caught and cited, he or she will be fined $250 or a regular fine for the infraction will be doubled – whichever is higher.
The Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) chose not to have any lanes closed over the July 4th weekend to remove the chance of work zone accidents as holiday travelers took to the road. Driver behaviors that law enforcement is looking for and seeking to address include speeding, DUI, tailgating, failure to signal, ignoring barricades, committing a hit-and-run and more. Drivers are advised to be vigilant and pay attention to the road; move over for workers; and keep from following vehicles ahead too closely.
Safety precautions unlikely to prevent all work zone accidents
Despite this attempt to make work zones safer, the sad reality is that drivers are likely to continue to flout the law and ignore the possible danger presented to road workers by being reckless, negligent, distracted or under the influence and causing an auto accident. Workers who are hit and injured may face major medical bills, lost wages from being unable to work and an uncertain future. After an accident, there are certain key steps to take including reporting the crash, accruing evidence, getting immediately medical attention and considering the legal options. Consulting with those experienced in these cases might be helpful.