Every 5.4 minutes in the U.S., there is a motor vehicle accident in a highway work zone. Drivers in California may follow the reduced speed limit, but they will still be at a high risk for a crash themselves if they are distractedly navigating the narrow lanes. A University of Missouri study says that inattentive drivers are 29 times more likely to have a crash or near-crash in a highway work zone.

Researchers affirm that the length of time for which drivers are distracted has no effect on crash risk. On the one hand, then, a driver could be in an accident while sending a text, which takes approximately five seconds. On the other hand, a driver could crash after making a small adjustment to the radio or while conversing with a passenger.

What makes this study unique is that it relies on naturalistic driving study data while previous studies had to look at the often vague information in crash reports to determine if a crash occurred in a highway work zone or not. The data was gathered by the Transportation Research Board and involved the first-hand accounts of over 3,000 drivers. Because of this, the results of the study may provide important recommendations to state transportation agencies as they try to reduce the number of work zone crashes.

Those who incur a personal injury at the hands of an inattentive driver may pursue a case against that driver’s auto insurance company. They may want an attorney who works in personal injury law to assist them, though, because insurance companies can be aggressive in denying payment. The attorney may ensure a strong case with the help of crash investigators, who gather proof of negligence, and medical experts, who determine the extent of victims’ injuries and the cost of treatment.