In some parts of the country, there is an old joke that says there are only two seasons: winter and roadwork. While this joke doesn’t quite ring as true in the Carolinas, amid relatively mild winters, the fact is that the amount of roadwork projects underway does significantly increase during the spring and summer months as the weather gets better.
Our Spartanburg, South Carolina workers’ compensation lawyers know that roadwork season presents some risk to drivers as well as to those doing the construction work on the road. While drivers may be in danger of getting into car wrecks if they don’t follow or don’t understand detours and changes prompted by the roadwork, it is ultimately those who are doing the construction who are at the greatest risk of getting hurt.
Employers who hire road crews to perform road work should ensure that there are adequate safety protections in place to do everything possible to keep their workers safe. The laws in South Carolina also aim to protect construction crews working on infrastructure problems by requiring drivers to move over.
Move-Over Laws and Roadside Work Injury Prevention Tips
South Carolina has a law on the books in section 56-5-1536 that requires motorists to move over into adjacent lanes when possible if they are passing temporary work zones. This law, along with a requirement that drivers move over when they come upon law enforcement or first responders at a collision scene, aims to ensure that cars are not too close to people who are working on the side of the road.
The law mandating that drivers move to a further lane when passing a temporary work zone is called a “move over,” law. It applies in any work zone where there is an area of road identified by orange work zone signs; by equipment with flashing lights; or by the presence of construction workers performing their jobs.
- The move over law does more than just mandate a driver move into another lane. The law also requires that drivers:
- Maintain proper control of their vehicle.
- Significantly drop the speed of their vehicle. Drivers who are unable to move over are also required to maintain a speed that is safe in light of the proximity to workers.
- Yield the right-of-way by shifting into a lane not adjacent to the work being performed in any situation where the highway has at least four lanes, two of which go in the same direction. Of course, drivers should only move over when it is safe and practical to do so.
Violating the move-over laws or violating the emergency scene laws is a serious moving violation. Those who put the lives of temporary workers at construction sites in danger can find themselves facing misdemeanor charges and can be required to pay fines equal to hundreds of dollars. Not only that, but if a driver endangers workers by failing to move over, operate the car slowly and use good common sense when driving through a work zone, the driver could potentially be sued if a work accident happens.
While those injured at work are normally expected to obtain compensation only through workers’ compensation from their employer, when a worker gets injured by a third party car accident, the worker retains his right to file a lawsuit against the third party who caused harm. This suit can be brought in addition to a workers’ compensation claim against the employer.
If you have been injured in a work accident, contact the Carolina injury lawyers at the Lee Law Offices today by calling 800-887-1965.