The North Carolina Department of Transportation is asking motorists to give highway workers a break after a construction worker was killed last week in an accident on I-40 in Duplin County.
Highway workers are at high risk for North Carolina work accidents. Nationwide, 720 fatalities occurred in highway construction zones in 2008, according to the National Work Zone Safety Information Clearinghouse. North Carolina Highway construction accidents killed 21.
The construction worker was setting up a work zone when a distracted driver veered off the road and pinned the 21-year-old man between two vehicles. While DOT reports it is the first worker killed in several years, construction workers on road crews face one of the most dangerous occupations.
“Ten years ago, it wasn’t quite as bad, but now, drivers are so aggressive compared to what they were,” said Transportation Supervisor Rodney Poe. “So we’re constantly having to holler at each other.”
Another worker was injured in the accident and treated and released from a local hospital. In 2008, about 200 North Carolina highway construction workers were injured seriously enough to miss work, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Many of those involved North Carolina workers’ compensation claims for medical expenses and lost wages.
The North Carolina Department of Transportation offers tips for motorists:
-Stay Alert: Dedicate all of your attention to the roadway.
-Pay Close Attention: Watch for signs and flaggers.
-Turn on your Headlights: Workers and other motorists can better see you.
-Don’t Tailgate: Slowing your reaction time can have deadly consequences.
-Don’t Speed: Reduced speed limits are posted in construction zones.
-Keep up with flow of traffic.
-Don’t change lanes unnecessarily.
-Minimize Distractions: Leave the radio and cell phone alone.
-Expect the unexpected: Watch for workers and equipment.
If you are dealing with a work accident in North Carolina or are dealing with a worker’s compensation or disability claim, contact the Law Offices of Lee & Smith today for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call 800-887-1965.