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Distraction raises risk for work zone crash on highways

Highway work zones are always a dangerous area for Arizona drivers to navigate because of their narrow lanes. Speeding, though, is not the only form of negligence that can lead to crashes in these zones. A study from the University of Missouri has found that distracted drivers are 29 times more likely to get in a collision or near-collision in highway work zones than drivers who are attentive.

These researchers could use the results of their study to recommend behavioral countermeasures for the reduction of crashes and injuries in highway work zones. These recommendations would be considered by the Federal Highway Administration, which funded the study, and by state transportation agencies; they could include complete texting bans and better public education.

Researchers arrived at their conclusion after looking at first-hand accounts of how drivers interact with the vehicle, roadway and surrounding environment. These accounts were collected between 2006 and 2015 for part of the Transportation Research Board's second Strategic Highway Research Program. They involved more than 3,000 drivers and over 50 million miles traveled.

The naturalistic data used provides this study with an advantage over earlier studies, which relied on crash reports to determine when accidents occurred in work zones. These reports that the police fill out tend not to give detailed information on how drivers acted prior to the crash.

Whenever there is clear evidence that a distracted driver caused a car wreck, victims who are not to blame may have good grounds for a personal injury claim. It may be a good idea to have a lawyer evaluate the case. The lawyer might hire third-party investigators to establish the defendant's guilt and medical experts to measure the extent of injuries. The lawyer may then attempt to negotiate for a settlement covering all applicable losses.

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