Fiery Truck Wreck that Kills Two Puts Spotlight on Construction Zone Dangers | Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp

A fiery chain-reaction crash in Florida (FLA) that saw a tractor-trailer pile into three vehicles in an I-95 construction zone has once again highlighted the potential dangers of work areas. Authorities investigating the accident are looking at whether the truck failed to reduce speed in a construction zone, Florida Today reported.

Seven people were involved in the crash earlier this month on southbound Interstate 95 at the coned-off exit to Malabar Road in Palm Bay. The two people killed were identified as Todd Olthoff and Marcy Olthoff both 48-year-olds from Palm Bay. They were traveling in a 2001 Infiniti when they were slammed into by the tractor-trailer.  Authorities are focused on whether the truck driver failed to reduce speed in a construction zone as motorists slowed down near a closed exit ramp.

Our sympathies are with the family members of the deceased after this terrible crash. This firm has previously highlighted the hazards of construction zones and how safety is a major issue for reconstruction projects. A large portion of the Recovery and Reinvestment Act is dedicated to infrastructure projects like revamping and reconstructing our highway system. While this is positive news for drivers it can also mean more hazards association with work areas.

Highway work zone accidents have killed about 4,700 people and injured 200,000 over the last five years, according to the New York Times. In many accidents, drivers have failed to slow down in time to avoid an accident in a construction zone. In 2009 our injury law firm reported on how Thomas Ball Jr. from Faison, North Carolina (NC) was traveling on Interstate 40 near Old Mountain Road when he collided with a tractor trailer. A tractor trailer had stopped at a construction zone. Ball was not able to stop in time safely behind the truck and slammed in to the back of a truck.

We also reported on a devastating wreck in a construction zone in South Carolina (SC) when an 18-wheeler jack knifed, causing an accident that seriously injured five people.

Pavement drop-offs are another hazard in construction zones. This is where portions of the road that are under construction literally drop off due to a lack of pavement. Accidents involving dangerous drop-offs kill roughly 160 people and injure 11,000 each year.

Numerous new work projects are planned in our region in 2011, raising the prospect of dangers on the roads of Virginia, according to a list of construction projects from Virginia Department of Transportation. They include the Widening of Route 68 to six lanes in Norfolk, VA, a new traffic management system at the interchange of I-64 and Magruder Boulevard in Hampton, VA; a new interchange on the I-64 at the Chesapeake-Virginia Beach interchange at City Line Road and the widening of Route 17 from two lanes to four south of Cedar Road in Chesapeake, VA.

Our firm has a long and impressive track record of representing victims of roads accidents and their families including in accidents in construction zones. Here’s a list of our firm’s traffic case results.

Here’s a video of a fatal crash in a construction zone on the I-44 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.