Understanding Georgia Motor Vehicle Crash Report Codes
When most people think about “work zones,” on the road, they automatically assume that it is a construction zone. But, there are actually several types of work zones in Georgia. The Georgia Motor Vehicle Crash Report has a specific space to indicate whether the car accident occurred in a work zone because those types of crashes come with additional consequences and may have more parties involved than just another driver. Each type of work zone is noted with a numeric code, explained below.
What Is a Work Zone on the Crash Report?
The Georgia Department of Transportation and various utility companies often do work on the road without closing the way to traffic. They do this to minimize the disruption that the average person feels in traveling throughout the state. But, not shutting down roads means that it may be more dangerous while drivers move through these areas.
A work zone is an area of the road or portion of the shoulder where work is being performed. Utility work is often conducted just off the road, but vehicles that actually perform the work may need to be parked on the street.
A work zone is marked with a large orange sign that indicates that road work is in progress. Even if it looks like no work is being performed, those signs show where the work zone starts and stops.
On the crash report, these are also referred to as Construction/Maintenance Zones.
Need-to-Know Work Zone Safety
Accidents that occur in work zones often affect workers in addition to those in the vehicles involved. For this reason, the State of Georgia frequently engages in safety campaigns to encourage drivers to be extra careful in work zone areas. They suggest the following safety tips to use in work zones:
- Do not speed. Nearly all work zones require that you reduce your speed as you drive through
- Expect the unexpected. Work zones frequently change, including the pattern of traffic
- Don’t tailgate. Give the car in front of you plenty of room to navigate the work area. You may need to stop suddenly to avoid rear ending them
- Stay alert. Put your phone down and minimize distractions as much as possible so you can fully focus on the road
- Keep up with the flow of traffic. Some drivers will slow to look at the construction work, which can be very dangerous. Resist this urge
- Be patient and flexible. Work zones will often increase your commute time. Give yourself plenty of time to get through these areas
Keep in mind that Georgia has a “move over” law that requires you to change lanes or slow when you spot maintenance or construction vehicles on the side of the road.
Construction/Maintenance Work Zone Codes on the Crash Report
Georgia has harsh penalties for traffic violations in work zones, including fines and even potential jail time for failing to follow posted reduced speed signs.
Although work zones are separately defined in the Georgia Motor Vehicle Crash Report, they are all very similar. This type of notation is often simply used to indicate the kind of work zone in case an issue with fault arises that may have been caused by a worker.
The codes used for work zones include:
- Officers are required to investigate whether the accident occurred in a work zone. Forcing the officer to mark “none” instead of just not completing this section of the police report means that an investigation was conducted, and the officer determined that the driver was not in a work zone.
- Construction zones could include both work on the road itself and nearby work being done to a building or another structure. The work does not actually have to be performed on the street for it to be considered a work zone.
- This type of work zone is by far the most prevalent. Maintenance work is frequently performed on small areas of the road that is sometimes not marked well.
- Utility work is sometimes performed on the road itself, but it’s far more common for it to be just off the road. The road may be blocked off to ensure that there is a safe distance between workers and equipment and oncoming traffic.
- Unknown type. It is not always clear what kind of work is being performed in the area right away. Sometimes an officer will mark unknown in those situations. In many cases, the officer will do some additional investigation and add on or amend the report to provide this type of information later, but not always.
Using Work Zone Information in Your Car Accident Case
Knowing the type of work zone can help indicate who was at fault for the accident. It may be partially the fault of the company doing the work, in addition to another driver. John Foy & Associates can help you deal with these potentially complicated situations. Fill out the form to your right, or call us at 404-400-4000 to get your FREE consultation today.