There’s a car crash in a highway work zone every 5.4 minutes in this country. The narrow lanes and the possibility of drivers not reducing their speed make highway work zones especially dangerous. Mississippi residents should know that the riskiest thing a driver could do in these zones is be distracted.

Researchers at the University of Missouri analyzed some 3,000 first-hand accounts from drivers who caused a crash because they were inattentive. These accounts gave details that most crash reports do not give: specifically, details about how drivers were interacting with their vehicle, the road and their surroundings just prior to the crash.

Based on this naturalistic driving study data, researchers found that inattentive drivers are 29 times more likely to crash or be in a near-collision in a highway work zone. How long drivers are inattentive for does not change the risk, so they could be using their phone, eating and drinking or even talking to a passenger.

Because of the naturalistic data researchers used, their conclusions can prove helpful for automakers striving to make self-driving cars. The data can also be used to recommend “behavioral countermeasures” that can be implemented by the Federal Highway Administration and state transportation agencies. These measures could include texting bans and better public education on driver safety.

Those who are involved in motor vehicle collisions and who are hurt through the other driver’s negligence may be able to file a claim. In this state, contributory negligence of any degree does not bar plaintiffs from recovering damages, but naturally, the greater their degree of fault, the harder it could be to negotiate for a settlement. Victims may have a lawyer evaluate their case and see how much they might be eligible for. The lawyer may then handle all negotiations.