Active construction zones are hardly a rare sight during the spring and summer months in Colorado, as workers take to the state’s highways to repair the ravages of winter. When crews shut down a lane or two of traffic, it can create serious surprises for drivers, despite signage and other attempts to alert motorists to changing conditions. Unfortunately, road construction remains a leading cause of accidents, leaving drivers and workers alike paying the price for the desperately needed fixes our roads require during this time of the year.
Motorists, passengers, and workers are at risk
While motorists and their passengers are frequently affected by construction zone accidents, a Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) employee is one of the state’s most recent victims. The man was killed in a multi-vehicle accident on U.S. 50 not far from the base of Monarch Pass. At the time of the accident, temporary signaling devices had been set up in an attempt to alternate east and westbound traffic so that road crews could complete their assignment on this stretch of the road.
Alternating traffic can be extremely dangerous
Despite the device signaling to halt eastbound traffic, an 18-wheeler traveling in that direction crossed into westbound lanes, crashing into a passenger vehicle, another truck, and a CDOT dump truck. The driver of the dump truck was killed, while the driver of the semi was injured seriously. In perhaps the accident’s only silver lining, the drivers of the other two vehicles involved sustained only minor injuries. This fatality marks the fifty-eighth CDOT employee to lose his life in the line of duty.
Construction zone accidents: common but confusing
According to CDOT, this accident represents the exception, with 85% of all work zone fatalities comprised of regular motorists and their occupants. In the last year for which data was published, there were 830 work zone accidents in the state, resulting in numerous fatalities and injuries. Nationwide, this phenomenon is responsible for over 37,000 injuries annually.
When people are injured in work zone accidents, assessing liability can be extremely difficult. Indeed, there are a number of parties that may be held responsible for the injuries and death that occur as a result of such accidents.