Earlier this week, a Chicago car accident lawyer at our firm read a news report detailing a campaign that has been launched by the Illinois Department of Transportation in an effort to reduce traffic related crashes, injuries, and fatalities in work zones. According to the news report, posted on AledoTimesRecord.com, the campaign is joined by other agencies including the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority, Illinois State Police, Local Laborers Union, as well as, the Illinois Road and Transportation Builders Association, just in time for the 2012 construction season to begin.
According to a statement released by the Illinois Department of Transportation’s Secretary, the Embrace the Orange Campaign is designed to encourage motorists of all types of vehicles and roadway workers to remain extremely cautious this year during travel. Additionally, it is encouraged that drivers take all necessary steps to remain aware and protect themselves in and around work zones. Our Chicago car accident attorney learned that last year alone, 21 fatal crashes transpired in work zones across the state of Illinois – including one of the Illinois Department of Transportation’s own employees.
It is reported that speed and driver inattentiveness have played major contributing factors to work zone related accidents. Given that notion that roadway construction creates conditions such as narrow or reduced lanes, edge drop offs, equipment next to moving lanes of traffic, as well as, lane closures, require drivers to significantly reduce their speed in order to safely travel through construction or work zones. In a statement released by the Executive Director of the Illinois Tollway, it was recommended that drivers slow down, stay alert, and always remember that texting while driving in Illinois is illegal.
Under current Illinois laws concerning distracted driving, hand-held wireless telephone devices are prohibited while operating a vehicle in a school or construction zone for all drivers – regardless of age. Additionally, the use of electronic communication devices or any other electronic device used to text, e-mail, compose, read, or to send electronic message or access internet sites is strictly prohibited while operating a motor vehicle in the state of Illinois.
Any Chicago accident lawyer will tell you that under current Illinois laws concerning work zone related travel, work zone speed fines are $375 for first-time offenders and $1,000 for second-time offenders, with the loss of their driver’s license for up to 90 days. In the event that a motorist hits a construction worker, they may face a $10,000 fine and up to 14 years in prison.