An Orange County, Florida man found himself on the Florida Highway Patrol’s list of most wanted fugitives after his reckless driving injured several construction workers. The man was approaching a toll plaza when he entered a construction area, heading towards a closed lane that had been marked with three-foot orange cones and a lit arrow to direct traffic. He swerved to the right to avoid the arrow sign, but then was facing a barrier wall, so he served back to the left and lost control of his vehicle. The man’s car slid into three construction workers.
Because of the increased risk for accidents and deaths in work zones, Florida police officers have used new, creative methods to seize offenders. In the past several years, they have been dressing up as construction workers in order to catch people speeding or driving recklessly through construction areas.
The police refer to this program as “Operation Hard Hat”. Officers appearing to be working in construction zones have been operating laser radars alongside heavy construction machinery to blend in. During one two-hour shift of the operation, officers issued twelve tickets, totaling $1,635 in fines due to the doubling of fines in work zones. If you have been involved in an accident due to the negligent driving of someone through a work zone or near officers on the side of the road, an Orlando personal injury attorney can help you obtain compensation for your injuries.
More Information about Florida Work Zone Accidents
In 2008, Florida had 9,343 work zone crashes, with 6,803 people injured and 93 killed. Florida’s worst year for work zone deaths was 2005 when 137 people died. The Florida legislature passed the Florida Move Over Law in 2002, but many Florida drivers remain unaware of it. The law requires motorists to slow down and change lanes if they see law enforcement officials, emergency vehicles or construction workers stopped along the side of the road. Some of the important aspects of the law include:
- If drivers are on a multi-lane road and can change lanes safely, they must do so as they approach an emergency vehicle with flashing lights.
- If drivers cannot change lanes or are on a single lane road, they must slow down to 20 miles per hour below the posted speed limit. If the speed limit is 20 miles per hour or less, drivers must travel at five miles per hour.
- Drivers who fail to adhere to the Move Over Law will face a non-criminal moving or pedestrian violation.
Drivers should treat work zones as they do school zones by slowing down and being extra cautious. From the other perspective, construction workers and state agencies must ensure that they mark construction zones with clear signs and lights to warn approaching motorists of the need for caution. If you have been involved in an accident due to work zone negligence, contact an Orlando personal injury lawyer at Wooten Kimbrough, P.A. for further information regarding your options.