You commute to and from Gainesville, Georgia, and are no stranger to traffic jams on the highway. Matters can be made worse in highway work zones with their narrow lanes, so you know that the risk for a car crash can be great. In fact, an accident occurs in a highway work zone every 5.4 minutes in this country.

A new study from the University of Missouri has pinpointed inattention as one of the common factors in highway work zone crashes. Below is a brief summary of what researchers discovered.

Crash risk increases 29 times

Relying on first-hand accounts of drivers’ interactions prior to a crash, researchers found that those who are inattentive behind the wheel are 29 times more likely to be in a collision or near-collision in a highway work zone. The distracting behavior could last for any length of time, and the risk would still be the same.

Distracted driving should not be underestimated. For example, sending a text can take a driver’s eyes off the road for five seconds. During that time, a driver going at 55 mph can easily cover the distance of a football field.

What makes this study unique

The data that researchers used came from a naturalistic driving study performed as a part of the Transportation Research Board’s second Strategic Highway Research Program. It involved over 3,000 drivers traveling more than 50 million miles between the years 2006 and 2015.

The researchers are confident that the results of their study could help the Federal Highway Administration in setting up “behavioral countermeasures” to reduce highway work zone crashes. The findings could also benefit automakers looking to build self-driving vehicles and other new tech.

Legal assistance for complicated cases

Distracted driving crashes, regardless of where they occur, can form the basis for a personal injury case. If you yourself were the victim of a distracted driver, then you may want a lawyer to evaluate your claim and determine how much you might be eligible for in damages. The lawyer may be able to help you navigate all the complexities of the case.