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Colorado Construction Zone Traffic Accidents Spark Calls for Driver Caution

Colorado traffic safety officials are renewing calls for drivers to give other vehicles more space when traveling in construction zones.

“Road work can be frustrating and sometimes confusing. This is exactly why it is each driver’s responsibility to stay focused on the task of driving while following traffic rules,” Col. Matthew C. Packard, chief of the Colorado State Patrol, said in a statement urging drivers to take caution in construction zones.

Colorado State Troopers investigated more than 1,100 crashes in construction zones across the state last year. Nearly one-third of those accidents were caused by drivers following too closely to the vehicle in front of them, according to Colorado State Patrol.

“Give some space to the driver in front of you,” Packard continued. “By removing the space, you are decreasing the amount of time and room you have to react to the driver braking or swerving for road debris, dips, bumps, equipment or people.” 

“Larger following distances give the time you need to avoid a crash,” he added.

Lane violations (22%) and distracted driving (17%) were also among the leading factors in construction zone accidents last year, CSP said. Other causes included speeding (5%), driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (4%) and failure to yield (3%).

“There is no other way to say this – people’s lives are depending on you, Packard continued. “Construction zones require extra caution.”

Construction Accidents Can Turn Deadly

If the CSP warning is not enough, recent fatal crashes in construction zones across the state should serve as a wake-up call for Colorado drivers.

A 20-year-old Colorado State University student was killed early last year when his car reportedly collided with a jersey barrier erected to protect road construction workers on I-25 between Mead and Fort Collins. The man was on his way back to school at the time and was about five miles from his family home. He ejected from the vehicle as it rolled across the construction zone, according to a local news report.

At least three people were killed last year in similar accidents along the 25-mile stretch of I-25 between Mead and Fort Collins. Nearly 300 crashes occurred, including 85 that resulted in injuries, Fox31 found.

A CDOT official told the news outlet that jersey barriers are a necessary safety precaution.

“The temporary concrete barrier serves two safety purposes: 1) It keeps vehicles from entering into the work zone and hitting hazards or equipment, materials or other immovable objects, and 2) It protects the workers from errant vehicles or parts of vehicles that could enter the work zone and cause injury,” the official said.

“This barrier is temporarily set up during construction and is removed once work is complete; this is a standard practice that is critical to safely construct the new road while allowing vehicles to use I-25 simultaneously,” the official added.

A tragic 2021 crash highlights the risks for road construction workers.

One worker was killed and another was injured when a Denver driver slammed her vehicle into the men, according to the Denver Gazette. The accident happened on a Tuesday afternoon in Denver’s RiNo District.

A 56-year-old Denver resident died after being transported to the hospital. The second construction worker was left in critical condition.

The driver fled the scene of the crash, an all too common situation across the state. She was later apprehended and charged with vehicular homicide. The officer who caught up with the driver reportedly “said her breath smelled of alcohol and she was swaying and slurring her words,” a sign of intoxication.

Legal Rights for People Injured in Car Crashes

Car accidents are a part of life on the road. They can and do happen. Whether it is a low-speed, rear-end collision on a neighborhood street or a multi-car pile-up on a busy highway, these crashes can cause serious and even life-threatening injuries to drivers, passengers and pedestrians, not to mention construction zone workers.

Anyone who is injured in a crash in Colorado has the right to seek compensation from those responsible, from a negligent driver to a car manufacturer that makes a defective vehicle or a government agency responsible for keeping roads in safe condition.

The monetary damages typically in Colorado car accident cases are generally designed to put the injured person back in the financial position that he or she was in prior to the collision. That includes payment for current and future doctors’ bills, as well as property damages, missed wages and any impact on your earning capacity stemming from the injuries.

In the tragic situation in which a person dies in an auto accident in Colorado, certain family members can also seek compensation for wrongful death. No amount of money will ever bring back your loved one, but compensation can ease the financial stress that often comes with losing a family member.

To get that compensation after an accident, you generally have to be able to prove legal responsibility for the crash. Traffic accident claims are usually based on allegations of negligence, a legal theory holding people and entities liable when they do not live up to a certain “duty of care.”

Drivers, for instance, owe others on the road a duty to operate their vehicles in a reasonably safe way. Motorists are expected to comply with traffic laws, remain alert behind the wheel and refrain from dangerous behavior like tailgating, constantly changing lanes, drinking and driving or using a phone. A driver who fails to do so is likely to be found legally responsible for any accidents that happen as a result.

Speak With a Denver Personal Injury Lawyer

If you or a loved one has been injured in a golf cart or other vehicle accident in Colorado, an experienced Denver personal injury lawyer at Levine Law can help. Our attorneys combine decades of experience and a strong track record of success in the courtroom and through negotiated settlements.

Our lawyers are pleased to serve clients throughout Colorado, including in Denver, Colorado Springs, Ft. Collins and Loveland. Call us at 303-333-8000 or contact us online to speak with a Denver personal injury lawyer.

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