DRIVER ON PHONE SERIOUSLY INJURED HIGHWAY CONSTRUCTION ZONE WORKER
Minnesota Public Radio recently reported that last Monday afternoon, a construction zone worker was doing what she often does at work — flagging traffic through a construction zone in East Bethel in the north metro. She was about to let a vehicle she had stopped drive through, when suddenly another car came speeding toward her. At the last second, the driver swerved around the car stopped in front of her — straight into the construction zone worker, seriously injuring her.
“From what I understand it didn’t sound like there were any breaks screeching or anything,” said her fiance. “She didn’t have any time to react.” The woman was airlifted to Hennepin County Medical Center, where her fiance has stood vigil at her side ever since. “I just want to be here, I don’t want her to wake up and not have anyone,” he said, his voice cracking. “I don’t want her to have anyone she doesn’t recognize when she wakes up.”
This accident is just the latest in a disturbing trend. Between 2011 and 2015 there were more than 86,000 crashes in Minnesota where distracted driving was a factor. “It’s a big concern,” said State Patrol Lt. Robert Zak. “Distracted driving is becoming more and more common, it’s the leading factor in crashes in the state of Minnesota.” Drivers are distracted during one in every four crashes in the state. In 2015 alone it contributed to more than 7,600 injuries and 74 deaths.
It’s against state law to text or read emails or otherwise access the web while driving. Cell phone use is completely banned for school bus drivers and teens during their permit and provisional license stages. Still, the injured woman’s fiance believes more needs to be done to stop distracted driving, especially in construction zones, where he said he witnesses it firsthand all the time. “The main thing I want to say is, just hang up, if not for yourself, for somebody else you know,” he said.
The Anoka County Sheriff’s Office is still investigating. The county attorney’s office will then decide whether to press charges.
At the Rochlin Law Firm, our lawyers have represented several construction zone workers who were hit by a car and seriously injured. A highway construction worker is especially vulnerable when on the road with car passing nearby. There are many laws in place to protect the road workers, but a distracted driver can still get through and cause serious injury or even kill them. These are tragic cases affecting the whole family of the highway or road construction worker. Workers compensation does provide some benefits, but that is never enough to fully compensate the injured person and their family. If you or a family member are a road construction worker hit be a car in Minnesota, please call as and speak with a lawyer for a free consultation. We will explain your rights and make sure you get all of the compensation you are entitled to.