Every driver in Orange and Polk County is used to seeing the orange cones and barrels warning of an upcoming construction zone on the highway or road.
Currently, there is a lot of highway construction in Polk and Orlando, including the I-4 Ultimate project that will transform Orange County by connecting communities. But can the construction company be held liable for auto accidents when it closes lanes, makes detours and changes traffic patterns?
Are there any safety rules or Florida’s Department of Transportation requirements that need to be followed when construction companies redirect traffic through the lane and road closures?
Safety Regulations and Guidelines for Construction Sites in Florida
Driving through or near a construction zone can be hazardous no matter how experienced you are or how carefully you drive. Despite all the identical warning signs, flashing lights, and orange barrels, construction sites are never alike, which makes navigation through a construction zone dangerous.
Also, a large percentage of motorists do not follow traffic rules when driving through construction and work zones. In Florida, state agencies, cities, municipalities, and private contractors have a duty to ensure that their construction sites are correctly designed and maintained.
The FDOT has set forth guidelines for setting up barricades, warning signs, flagging, and following other safety regulations in its Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices. In addition, the FDOT has implemented a Work Zone Mobility and Safety Program designed to reduce speeds and ensure safety in construction zones. The program has many requirements for construction sites that:
- Consist of multiple lanes;
- Are located in high-speed areas (at 55 mph or higher);
- Require at least one lane closure; and
- Require workers to be present.
FDOT’s Requirements for Construction Zones
The FDOT also created Standard Specifications for Road and Bridge Construction, which includes the following requirements:
- Maintaining traffic affected by the construction project for the duration of the project;
- Constructing and maintaining detours;
- Providing facilities for access to businesses and residences affected by the project;
- Installing and maintaining traffic control and safety devices;
- Providing and maintaining work zone pavement markings in the construction site;
- Avoid creating any hazards to traffic throughout the duration of the project; and
- Repairing and damage to existing pavement and lanes open to traffic.
Liability in Construction Site Car Accidents
If you have been in a construction site accident, you may be wondering who can be held liable. In the majority of such crashes, the other driver can be held accountable. However, in some cases, the construction company may be partially or fully responsible.
Your Lakeland construction site accident attorney will determine liability by investigating whether:
- There were proper warning signs;
- There were adequate detours and changed traffic patterns;
- The construction company installed and maintained traffic control and safety devices;
- The construction company created any hazards to traffic; or
- There were any other violations of safety protocols.
Often, victims need an accident reconstruction expert to determine fault in a construction site accident. In some work zone accidents, there may be several liable parties, including a motorist, the construction company, and the independent contractor or maintenance company. You need a knowledgeable Lakeland construction site accident lawyer from The Turnbull Firm to determine fault in your particular crash. Call at 407-612-6464 or 863-324-3500 to get a consultation.