Legal teams all over the country devote countless hours helping victims of truck, bus and car accidents recover through compensation settlements and court cases. Accidents involving motor vehicles don’t always only injure drivers and passengers. There are many instances when an individual outside of the vehicle is harmed in some way. One of those situations is the highway work zone.

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation provides some tips to help both highway workers and motorists stay safe. The state takes work zone safety very seriously, and the penalties for careless driving through one can be severe. Fines, for example, when ticketed for speeding, can be of high value. In a work zone, penalties are doubled. More importantly, however, the consequences for causing injury or death to someone in a work zone are extremely serious. Prison time and thousands of dollars in fines may apply, and victims or survivors might be able to recover large settlements.

Wisconsin tallies about 2,000 crashes a year in work zones, a number that includes fatalities. Workers are vulnerable, but data shows that drivers and passengers are more commonly killed in work zone crashes. As better weather approaches, major road construction will create obvious work zones to be noted and carefully negotiated with slower speed, no distractions of drivers while passing through confined lanes and patience.

It’s important to note that highway construction sites aren’t the only work zones under the law. Emergency vehicles on the side of the road, a snowplow with flashing lights, garbage trucks making collections and utility work qualify as work zones. If at all possible, moving into another lane to avoid the area is always a good choice. With lower speeds, rear-end collisions are the most common work zone crashes. By not tailgating, it’s likely they can be avoided altogether.

Source: Wisconsin Department of Transportation, “Safety & Consumer Protection – Work zone safety,” accessed April. 03, 2015