Illinois motorists who text and drive in a highway work zone have a higher chance of being involved in an accident than drivers who do not. According to a study from the University of Missouri, the chance of a collision is 29 times higher.

Researchers have long known that texting and driving is dangerous. It takes approximately five seconds to read the average text, and this means that a driver traveling at 55 miles per hour travels about the length of a football field in that time. However, previous studies have not done a detailed analysis of driver behavior in work zones. They simply looked at it as one of many details about the accident a police officer might include on a report. This study took data from the Strategic Highway Research Program’s Naturalistic Driving Study produced by the Transportation Research Board. This has data from thousands of drivers from 2006 to 2015. It includes information on the environment, the roadway and what the driver was doing at the time of the crash.

The study appeared in the Journal of the Transportation Research Board. Recommendations rising as a result of it could include additional laws about texting and driving and more public education. Results from the study might also be used in developing self-driving cars.

A driver who causes a motor vehicle accident in or out of a work zone might be required to pay compensation to people who are injured. It may cover medical expenses as well as such things as lost wages if the victim is unable to return to work while recovering. If the insurance company’s setttlement offer is inadequate, an attorney might help by filing a lawsuit.