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Highway crews prepare for deadly season

Roadside construction and road repair is a dangerous occupation. Now that summer highway repair projects are underway, workers must prepare for the worst when avoiding the potential deadly hazards of reckless and speeding drivers.

Crews and contractors working for the Colorado Department of Transportation are preparing for another season of distracted drivers, one of the biggest dangers faced by road side crews. According to reports, the majority of these accidents are caused by rear-end collision related to driver distraction, such as use of cellphones, speeding, or inattentive driving.

Colorado Department of Transportation workers and contractors must take safety courses and earn certification for traffic control. While on duty, they are required to wear helmets and brightly colored vests. Work sites are often arranged so that drivers are shielded by dump trucks when they are on duty.

Unfortunately, even the most conscientious workers can be victims of serious accident and injury. In many instances, there is no way to prevent against the dangers of drunk drivers, distracted drivers and recklessness on Colorado's highways. Authorities advise that all drivers be wary of workers while traveling this summer. Slow down and be aware that losing sight for even a moment can cost a worker's life.

While work crews and their families should be aware of risks, motorists and passengers should also be wary of the dangers of driving through a construction zone. Nearly 85 percent of all fatalities in work zones are to motorist and passengers, not road crew employees or contractors.

Victims and their families who suffer injury and wrongful death caused by driver negligence in a construction zone may be entitled to workers' compensation as well as damages for personal and economic losses.

Source: The Denver Post, "Deadly season starts for Colorado road crews," Monty Whaley, April 30, 2012.

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