You’ve undoubtedly seen public service announcements, signage, and other warnings about slowing down and being alert when driving in work zones to avoid injuring or killing road workers. Still, between 2016 and early May of 2021, there were 27,485 traffic crashes in Ohio work zones. And while workers are at special risk in those incidents, they’re far from the only ones injured or killed in work zone accidents.
Ohio Work Zone Accident Statistics
In 2019, Ohio hit an all-time high number of work zone accidents: 6,574 in a single year. Those crashes resulted in 1,121 injuries and 16 deaths. Just two of those deaths were road workers. The number of work zone crashes dropped to 4,540 in 2020. But it’s unclear at this point whether this represents an improvement or is simply the result of lower traffic volume and less construction work during the pandemic.
While work zone accidents can happen anywhere road work is underway, these events are concentrated in certain areas. Unsurprisingly, they happen more often in more populous, congested, high traffic areas. Since 2016, more than 41% of Ohio work zone accidents have occurred in three counties: Hamilton County (Cincinnati) took the lead, with Cuyahoga County (Cleveland) and Franklin County (Columbus) close behind.
Highest Risk Times for Work Zone Crashes in Ohio
The riskiest times in Ohio work zones will likely come as no surprise. Work zone accidents are most likely to happen on weekdays, with Tuesday and Wednesday being the highest risk days, closely followed by Thursday and Friday. Afternoon rush hour, between 3:00 p.m. and 4:59 pm., is the most dangerous time. Overall, noon to early evening is the highest-risk time, with another high-risk band between 7:00 a.m. and 8:59 a.m.
Work Zone Accident Types
The work zone accident type we hear about the most–and are probably most concerned about as drivers–involves hitting someone on the work crew with your vehicle. Those types of accidents are particularly dangerous, simply because a pedestrian hit by a car or truck is far more likely to be killed than someone involved in many other types of motor vehicle accidents. The risk of serious injury or death increases significantly at higher rates of speed.
But this type of accident is far from the most common work zone collision. Rather, the most common type of work zone accident involves one vehicle rear ending another. This is typically caused by drivers traveling too fast in a work zone and/or following too closely.
Avoiding Ohio Work Zone Crashes
The first step toward avoiding work zone collisions is to follow the law. Work zone speed limits are lower for a reason. Higher rates of speed make it less likely that you’ll perceive a hazard in time, less likely that you’ll be able to adjust in time, more likely that a worker you hit will be seriously injured or killed, and more likely that you or those in another vehicle you collide with will suffer serious injury or death. Pay close attention to road signs in the work zone that provide other warnings, such as traffic pattern changes, as well.
Of course, distracted driving is always dangerous and should always be avoided. But the risks of taking your eyes off the road, driving while you’re fatigued, driving under the influence, or otherwise being anything other than clear-headed and vigilant on the road are magnified in a work zone.
Liability for Work Zone Crashes
Generally, any driver or other party whose negligence caused or contributed to an injury or death is legally responsible for the harm caused by that negligence. So a driver who is speeding in a work zone or following too close and hits the car in front of them, or who is looking at a phone or other device and hits a worker, another car, or road equipment, will typically be liable.
In some cases, there may be other responsible parties. For example, the entity responsible for the road repairs may be responsible for or share responsibility for a work zone accident if the accident was caused in part by inadequate warning signs or barriers, debris left in the road, or other hazards created by that entity.
The best way to get personalized information and advice about who may be legally responsible for your injuries or for the loss of a loved one in a work zone crash is to consult an experienced Ohio car accident attorney. The attorneys at Plevin & Gallucci have dedicated decades to helping people in Ohio secure the compensation they need to rebuild after sustaining serious injuries on the job, in traffic crashes, through the use of defective products, and through medical malpractice.
We offer free consultations to help injury victims make informed decisions about their next steps. You can schedule yours right now by calling 855-4PLEVIN or filling out the contact form on this page.