Kentucky drivers can become inattentive to the road if they use their phones, adjust the radio and even talk with passengers. In the five seconds that it takes to read the average text message, drivers going 55 mph will travel the length of a football field.
A new study from the University of Missouri has found that driver distraction raises the risk for crashes in highway work zones by a startling 29 times. Previously, it had been known that speeding correlates with injury severity and that the narrow lanes of construction zones are a challenge to road safety.
While other studies have relied on crash reports, which are not detailed in describing driver behavior prior to the crash, this study was based on reconstructions of that behavior from first-hand accounts. This naturalistic driving data was taken from a study made for the Transportation Research Board's second Strategic Highway Research Program, and it involved over 3,000 drivers.
The data focused on how motorists interact with their vehicles, the roadway and the surrounding environment. Seven projects funded by the Federal Highway Administration are using this data; however, only the University of Missouri is using it to look at highway work zones. Researchers may use the results to recommend "behavioral countermeasures" for reducing the number of construction zone crashes.
When a negligent driver causes an accident, victims have the option of seeking damages. Damages may cover medical expenses, rehabilitative care, lost wages, pain and suffering and vehicle repair costs. The guilty driver's insurance company will likely be aggressive in denying any claims, though, so victims may want to obtain legal counsel. A victim may leave the negotiation or litigation stage to their attorney.