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Who May Be Liable for a Car Crash in a Michigan Work Zone?

picture of a work zone signWork zone motor vehicle crashes cause thousands of injuries and fatalities across the U.S. every year. While road work is a common part of our lives, many get impatient in the slower-moving traffic. This is especially true during warmer months when a lot of necessary repairs and upgrades are taking place.

No matter what state you may live in, construction and road workers face incredibly high risks for serious injuries due to reckless or inattentive drivers. In Michigan, the penalties these negligent drivers face for breaking the law is severe.

Read below how you can help avoid causing a serious accident, protect our road workers in Michigan and yourself from legal troubles. If another driver’s careless behavior causes you to suffer harm, our car accident lawyers in Grand Rapids are here to help.

What Exactly is a Work Zone in Michigan?

A work zone is an area along a local street or highway where roadwork is being done. To help ensure the safety of both workers and motorists, this work necessitates the need for detours and slower speeds. Work zones are marked in many ways, such as by:

  • Flashing lights to let you know how traffic is being redirected
  • Bright orange barriers
  • Channeling devices
  • Flaggers 
  • Pavement markings
  • Work vehicles
  • Signs alerting you about an upcoming work zone (i.e., Road Work Ahead, Flaggers Ahead)

The safety of the people who work in these areas are largely dependent on the care you and other motorists take as you drive past.

What to Expect in Michigan if You Speed Through a Work Zone

Michigan takes the safety of its road workers very seriously. If someone is caught speeding through a work zone area, penalties are severe and include:

  • Double the normal traffic fines assessed for speeding: This law was implemented in 1997.
  • Increased points on your license: Expect 3 points if going 10 mph or less over the posted limit; 4 points for going between 10 mph and 15 mph over; and 5 points if you are speeding more than 15 mph over the posted limit.
  • Increased insurance premiums: When you get points on your license, your insurance rates automatically go up too. Additionally, Michigan allows insurance companies to add a surcharge – drivers with points on their license are considered a greater crash risk.

Violators Who Injure or Kill a Worker Face Heavy Fines and Jail time

Reckless drivers who cause a work zone accident that injures or kills a road worker can expect:

  • Fines up to the maximum of penalty of $7,500
  • Up to 15 years of prison time

Why is Michigan so tough on drivers in work zone areas? Because in 2019, the state’s Office of Highway Safety Planning revealed these sobering statistics:

  • 5,808 crashes in work zones
  • 17 fatalities due to a work zone car crash
  • 1,449 injuries in a work zone collision

How You Can Avoid Causing a Work Zone Crash

Keep informed about Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) current construction areas and avoid them whenever possible.

If you are unable to take a detour around a work zone, here are a few steps you can take to help keep you and others safer:

  • Plan more travel time into your schedule: Often people get impatient and become angry drivers simply because they are anxious about getting to their destination on time.
  • Stay off your cellphone: No text message, email or phone call is worth risking yours or someone else’s life.
  • Do not engage in any distracted driving behavior: In addition to cellphone use, do not mess with car technology – such as your GPS or radio – while driving. Eating, drinking, grooming, arguing, scolding or playing with kids, taking photos or videos – any behavior that takes your attention off the road is dangerous.
  • Stay alert and follow the orange signs: Road work signs are in orange to get your attention and be easier to read. Follow these directions exactly.
  • Be on the lookout for semi-trucks and other big rigs: Commercial vehicles, like 18-wheelers, are prone to accidents in work zones. Their size and weight make it harder for them to stop quickly, so if they are not paying attention, it puts road workers and other vehicles at risk.

Sometimes accidents may happen despite our best efforts. If this occurs, it is critical that you move your car away from moving traffic, call 9-1-1 immediately, remain calm and stay at the scene. Failure to remain at the scene and call police can lead to a ticket, severe penalties and jail time.

Get Legal Help from an Experienced Attorney

At Jay Trucks, we have decades of experience helping injured road workers and other victims injured in work zone crashes.

If you or a loved one suffered a serious or fatal injury because of a reckless driver in a work zone, we are prepared to help you hold the at-fault party accountable. We have recovered millions in compensation and are ready to fight to help you pursue a maximum recovery. There are no upfront costs if we represent you, and we only get paid our fee if we recover compensation for you.

Get your free case review. Call: (800) 762-8623