Drivers in Texas should know that inattentive driving, whatever its duration, raises the risk for a highway work zone collision or near-collision by 29 times. Researchers at the University of Missouri found out just how dangerous inattentive driving can be in a highway work zone.

Every 5.4 minutes, there is a crash in this country that occurs in a highway work zone. The narrow lanes, combined with drivers’ penchant for speeding, make work zones especially dangerous. It should also be kept in mind how long the average driver can be inattentive when, for example, sending a text. This activity takes roughly five seconds; in that time, a driver going 55 mph can travel the length of a football field.

The University of Missouri study is unique in that it used naturalistic driving data to come to its conclusions. This data included the interactions that drivers had with their vehicle, the road and the environment prior to a crash.

The results of the study may prompt the Federal Highway Administration and state transportation agencies to come up with “behavioral countermeasures” as a way to improve driver safety. These countermeasures could range from policies dissuading drivers from distractions to outright bans on texting and other phone use. The results may also come in handy for automakers aiming to build safer vehicles.

Whenever motor vehicle accidents involve an injury and a distracted driver, they may form the basis for a personal injury claim. Victims of another’s negligence might be reimbursed for losses like the cost of medical treatments, income lost during their physical recovery, future medical expenses and pain and suffering. However, it might be hard to achieve a settlement that covers all of this, so victims may want a lawyer to assist them with filing and then negotiate on their behalf.