Summer Construction Distractions: Roadside Risks Revealed
How risky is filling a pothole?
The family of Patrick Mapleson learned the tragic answer on March 16, 2006. Mapleson was working on the side of a road when he was killed by a man driving a cement truck. The driver veered off the road when he reached down for a water bottle and struck Mapleson.
“The driver of the cement truck told me that when he looked back up, he and my father locked eyes, then he ran him over and my dad was killed instantly,” said Mapleson’s daughter, Karen Torres.
The tragedy underscores the dangers faced by construction workers at road sites. They account for:
- 10 percent of nonfatal pedestrian-vehicle accidents
- 19 percent of all fatal pedestrian incidents
“The last thing he said to me was, ‘I’ll see you Sunday, sweetheart.’ The next Sunday I saw him it was in his coffin,” Torres said.
Safety Tips for Drivers
When it comes to construction zone safety, the liability clearly belongs with the driver. The Federal Highway Administration offers the following tips
Stay alert and minimize distractions. Avoid changing the radio station, using a phone, eating, etc.
- Keep your headlights on.
- Pay attention to the road. Watch brake lights and the traffic.
- Merge into the proper lane well before reaching a lane closure.
- Be aware that traffic patterns can change daily.
- Don't tailgate.
- Obey the speed limit and be prepared to slow further, if necessary.
- Change lanes only where pavement markings indicate, and only when conditions permit.
- Follow instructions from flaggers.
- Expect the unexpected. Workers, vehicles, and equipment may enter your lane without warning. Other vehicles may slow, stop, or change lanes.
- Be patient.
Hire an Advocate Who Will Fight for You
If you are a construction worker who has been injured in a roadside accident, you likely suffered major injuries. You may miss weeks or months of work – or could be crippled for life. You’ll be unable to pay your bills or provide for your family. The driver who hit you probably will not accept responsibility and may, in fact, blame you for the accident. If you’re trying to navigate the complex workers’ compensation system, good luck – it’s a bureaucracy seemingly designed to frustrate anyone making a claim. An insurance company, aware of your financial straits, may be pressuring you with a settlement offer that does not truly cover your short- or long-term expenses.
Fortunately, Anthony R. Vellner, the workers’ compensation attorney at Vellner Law, P.C., has been fighting for justice for injured workers since 1991. With offices in Bethlehem and Allentown, he serves the entire Lehigh Valley region. He will aggressively protect your rights because he knows what is at stake for you and your family – the future. Contact him today for a free case consultation.