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The Orange Barrels Are Back


Yes, those wonderful orange and white barrels on the roads have returned, bringing with them the traffic congestion and accidents that too often accompany work zones. Although work zone accidents have declined at roughly the same rate as highway accidents in general (19% and 20% respectively 2007-2014), there were 669 work zone fatalities in 2014. These work zone crashes have the following characteristics: 25% involved the failure to use a seat belt; 28% involved speeding; and 25% involved alcohol. The most common type of crash in a work zone is a rear-end collision: 38% of all accidents in construction zones are this type of accident. The rest of the crashes in work zones are distributed among side-swipes (16%); collisions with fixed objects (23%) and all others (23%).


Although there are clearly defined safety standards that apply to work zones, there is no uniform definition of a work zone. What most people agree on is that a work zone contains four sections: (1) the advanced-warning section; (2) the transition section; (3) the work space section; and (4) the termination section.

In Georgia, speeding in a properly labeled roadway work zone is illegal, and a person can be fined up to $2,000 and/or sentenced up to 12 months in jail.


The first thing to do if you are involved in a work zone accident is to ensure that a thorough investigation is undertaken. The investigation must be done promptly before evidence can be lost or misappropriated, before witnesses’ memories fade, and before any roadway hazards that may have contributed to the accident are remediated. In work zone accidents, it is not uncommon for multiple parties to be liable. Construction contractors, construction workers, the city, county, state, and/or federal government, drivers of motor vehicles, and safety inspection companies are all parties that can be liable in work zone accidents. An investigation must therefore inquire into whether traffic laws were violated, whether industry safety standards failed to be achieved, whether the design of the roadway was faulty, or whether a distracted driver caused the accident.

Some types of negligence that are common in work zone accidents are:

  1. Not posting adequate warning signs of the work zone;
  2. Not properly directing traffic when lanes are restricted;
  3. Construction workers walking out into traffic/standing in the roadway;
  4. Failing to adequately repair road/construct it properly and make it safe;
  5. Leaving objects and debris in the roadway.


With the potential for multiple parties to be liable for the accident, and the need for a prompt and thorough investigation of the incident, it is crucial that an experienced attorney represent you if you have been injured or a loved one has died in a work zone crash. Contact Dave Thomas at The Thomas Law Firm for a free consultation regarding your case.

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Thomas Law Firm
Located at 945 East Paces Ferry Road, Resurgens Plaza, GA 30326.

Phone: (678) 264-8348.
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