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Distraction significantly raises highway work zone crash

Georgia residents should be aware of the danger of distracted driving. Reading the average text message takes about five seconds; in that same time, a vehicle going 55 mph can travel the length of a football field. Distractions, which can consist of anything from using the phone to talking with passengers, can especially raise the risk for crashes in highway construction zones.

Researchers at the University of Missouri focused on the link between these two in a recent study. For their data, they analyzed first-hand accounts of driver interactions with their vehicles, the roadway and the environment. This naturalistic driving data was gathered by the Transportation Research Board for its second Strategic Highway Research Program. It involves more than 3,000 drivers who traveled over 50 million miles between the years 2006 and 2015.

The conclusions that researchers came to was that distracted drivers are 29 times more likely to crash in a highway work zone. This stands to reason because the narrow lanes of work zones are more hazardous than wider lanes. Researchers could also see how speeding can be correlated with injury severity.

As a result of this study, researchers may be able to recommend "behavioral countermeasures" to the Federal Highway Administration and state transportation agencies. These recommendations could include texting and driving bans, better public education and policies for deterring distracted driving.

Distracted driving is a form of negligence. Therefore, the victim of a distracted driver may want to see a lawyer about filing a personal injury lawsuit. In this state, those who are less than 50 percent to blame for a crash may be eligible for compensation. This compensation could cover everything from medical expenses to lost income.

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