Work zones are dangerous, especially those on the side of the highway. Drivers in Oregon must be careful around these areas because of their narrow lanes and the possibility of other drivers not following the reduced speed limit. They themselves should be on guard against distractions of any kind, too.

University of Missouri researchers have found that drivers who are inattentive are 29 times more likely to be in a collision or near-collision in a highway work zone. It should be kept in mind how much time distractions consume. Sending a text, for example, takes approximately five seconds; in that time, a driver going 55 mph could cover the distance of a football field without looking up at the road.

Researchers are clear that distractions for any length of time raise the crash risk in highway work zones. This means that even adjusting a radio or talking with a passenger can put one in danger. Researchers were able to come to these conclusions because they based their study on naturalistic driving data rather than on the limited information given in crash reports.

A highway work zone crash occurs every 5.4 minutes in this country. State transportation agencies can do a lot to reduce the numbers, though, such as implementing behavioral countermeasures like texting bans and improvements in public education.

Those who are in motor vehicle collisions and who are 50% or less at fault may be able to file a personal injury claim in Oregon. However, any degree of contributory negligence could make it harder to negotiate a settlement with the other’s auto insurance company. For this and other reasons, victims may want a lawyer to represent them. Personal injury lawyers might have a network of investigators and other third parties who may help strengthen a case.