What Lyndon’s Law Means for Drivers Passing Through Work Zones

After just a few weeks of driving the same route to and from work, a friend or family member’s home, or the gym, the process becomes muscle memory. Temporary traffic signs and signals for road work or other obstructions can come as a surprise if you’re not alert behind the wheel, making work zones along busy routes extremely hazardous. A single mistake from a driver can have devastating consequences.

According to the American Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA), 3,300 people have died in work zones over the past 5 years. While most of these fatalities are drivers and passengers of vehicles, around 14% of deaths involved pedestrians or workers. Over a fifth of fatal work crashes were caused by distracted driving. This demonstrates how dangerous it is to work on highways, roads, bridges, and other areas associated with heavy traffic.

In 2016, after Lyndon Ebker, a 30-year employee of the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT), was hit and killed by a distracted driver in a Franklin Country work zone, the Missouri State Government proposed House Bill 499. This law was lobbied heavily by Ebker’s family and was subsequently introduced in 2019. It is known as “Lyndon’s Law” and was created to protect work zone employees and reduce accidents in these areas.

Lyndon’s Law

House Bill 499 was passed by legislators and signed by Missouri Governor Michael L.  Parson in 2019. Lyndon’s Law authorizes the Missouri Department of Revenue to revoke the driver’s license of any driver who strikes a highway or other road worker in a work zone. It also gives them the right to revoke the driver’s license of anyone who hits an emergency responder in an emergency zone.

The Missouri government believes this law helps protect all working professionals and responders on the roads, keeping them safe while operating in potentially dangerous areas.

Preventing Work Zone Accidents

The best way to prevent work zone accidents is to drive carefully and implement safe habits while you’re on the road. Stay alert at all times, even on routes you drive routinely. Avoid using your phone in the car as it could momentarily distract you, leading to an accident. Here are several safe driving tips to help maintain safer work zones:

Reduce Speed:

Driving at high speeds is a dangerous habit. Most fatal work zone crashes took place along roads where the speed limit was greater than 50 mph. Not only is the time your vehicle needs to come to a  stop drastically increased at high speed, but you will also have less reaction time and won’t be able to take in your surroundings as effectively.

Remember that stopping distances depend on the road conditions and weather. The stopping distance for a car traveling at 50 mph is 300 ft. for a dry road, 400 ft. for a wet road, and 1,250 ft. for an icy surface. Obey the speed limit and make a habit of driving slower in slippery conditions.

Pay Attention to Road Signs:

When driving familiar routes, you may not take a second look at a road sign. Remind yourself to pay more attention to the road signs as you travel so you can be prepared for sudden stops, speed changes, or lane closures. Drivers are always given fair warning of road construction, so keep a lookout. Ensure you are familiar with road sign meanings; review the symbols regularly to keep them fresh in your mind. 

Avoid Tailgating:

Rear-end car accidents are the most common type of crash in a work zone. While tailgating should always be avoided, it is particularly important to avoid it in work zones as drivers may have to stop or slow down quickly. Practice leaving two car lengths between you and the driver ahead.

Merge Lanes Safely

Many drivers take liberties when switching lanes, leading to accidents and road rage incidents. Ensure you merge lanes safely and legally where pavement marks allow or when traffic conditions are suitable. Always signal in advance of your move to communicate your intentions to surrounding drivers.

Be Patient in a Work Zone

Although busy work zones can be intimidating, they are designed to benefit the driver. Stay calm, take your time, and proceed cautiously. Drive slowly, follow the signs, and pay attention to flaggers. Give yourself plenty of time when traveling to avoid the temptation to speed.

Work With a Reliable Missouri Attorney

Unfortunately, even when taking precautions, accidents can still happen, and work zones hazards may still be present. What’s more, not all work zone accidents are caused by distracted drivers. Poor lighting, incorrect signage, misplaced equipment, and a host of other factors can significantly impact the safety of a work or emergency zone. Sometimes workers can also be at fault.

If you’ve been involved in a work zone accident in St. Louis or another city in Missouri, get in touch with the experienced and knowledgeable Missouri car accident attorneys at Cofman Townsley. We will give you the best possible chance to build a case and receive the compensation you’re entitled to. Don’t allow a motor vehicle accident to define your future.

Contact our law firm today to schedule your no-obligation free consultation.