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Distracted driving in work zones can be fatal

According to preliminary data recently released by the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security, 12 people died in work zones on Tennessee roads in 2012. Yet Tennessee readers may be surprised to learn that only three of those fatalities were roadside workers. The remaining nine fatalities were in vehicles traveling in the work zones.

What those numbers mean is that work zones can be dangerous to motorists who drive through them. Work zones often have large construction vehicles and equipment, which can better withstand the impact of a crash than many passenger vehicles. In other cases, a distracted driver may have failed to observe the reduced speed or stop signs, and simply rear-ended stopped traffic.

In an effort to reduce fatalities, a spokeswoman at the state's Department of Transportation reports that the agency has shifted many construction projects involving closed lanes to nighttime, when congestion is lower. However, there may still be a number of work zones affecting drivers in rush hour, due to volume: There are 72 active construction projects in Tennessee. Notably, that number does not include mobile work zones for maintenance, such as pothole repair.

A violation of a traffic rule, such as not reducing speed in a construction or work zone, might create a presumption of negligence. Indeed, drivers are expected to follow all rules of the road.

For anyone who is injured in a motor vehicle accident caused by another driver's negligence, a personal injury lawsuit might be an option. Such an individual might have serious injuries, medical bills, impaired job function, insurance claims and countless other problems. By proving that a driver's negligence caused the accident, an injured victim might be able to recover monetary compensation. An attorney can help such victims prepare the evidence they will need to prove their claim at trial.

Source: The Tennessean, "TN work zone crashes kill mostly motorists," Adam Tamburin, Jan. 21, 2013

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