Alabama residents may or may not be surprised to hear that there is a crash in a highway work zone every 5.4 minutes in the U.S. These zones, with their narrow lanes and drivers speeding through them, are obviously dangerous places. However, there’s another factor that can contribute to a crash in work zones, and that’s distracted driving.

A University of Missouri study found that inattentive drivers have a 29 times greater risk for a crash or near-crash in a highway work zone. The length of time for which drivers are inattentive does not change this risk, which means that drivers could crash whether they are texting, changing channels on the radio or talking with a passenger.

The study could provide helpful recommendations to state transportation agencies wishing to reduce the number of highway work zone crashes. The reason for this is that the study is based on naturalistic driving data provided by the Transportation Research Board. So far, MU is the only one that has taken this data, which consists of the first-hand accounts of more than 3,000 drivers, and applied it to highway work zone safety.

The results could also be of benefit to automakers striving to create driverless cars and other technology. The study was published in the Journal of the Transportation Research Board.

Those who are injured in motor vehicle collisions can file a personal injury claim. They should know, however, that Alabama follows the rule of contributory negligence, which means that plaintiffs are barred from recovery if they contributed in any way to their own injuries. To see how strong their case is, victims may want to see an attorney. Moving forward, the attorney might help gather evidence against the defendant and negotiate for a fair settlement out of court.