While driving your vehicle this summer, it is very likely that you will encounter a work zone. Most drivers associate work zones with heavy traffic and lane closures. While this can be frustrating, this is no excuse to drive aggressively or dangerously. You must consider the safety of fellow drivers and the men and women who are working hard to improve the roads and highways. The Federal Highway Administration reported that there were 87,606 crashes in work zones in 2010. Also, 37,476 people were injured in work zones. That means that a person suffered a work zone injury every fourteen minutes, or about four injuries every hour. More than 20,000 workers are injured in road construction work zones each year. In 2010, there were five hundred and fourteen fatal motor vehicle crashes in work zones, causing five hundred and seventy-six deaths. Consequently, there is one work zone fatality every fifteen hours. In Illinois, on average, more than 4,300 work zone car crashes occur each year, with more than 1,000 resulting in injuries, according to Illinois Tollway. Last year, twenty- nine people died because of crashes in work zones, including three people who were working on the roads or tollways.
Work Zone Penalties
The penalties for speeding in a work zone are quite hefty. You will be fined three hundred and seventy-five dollars for the first offense. For the second offense, there is a minimum fine of 1,000 dollars. If you get caught speeding in a work zone twice within two years, your driver’s license will be suspended for ninety days. If you hit a worker in a work zone, you could receive a 10,000 dollar fine and up to fourteen years in jail.
Work Zone Safety
In work zones, you should slow down regardless of whether you see workers because traffic lanes are narrower, and traffic patterns shift. Also, one of the most common car accidents in a work zone is rear-end collisions because drivers may make sudden stops. The pavement may be uneven, so you reduce the risk of damaging your car by going slower. Finally, give yourself a little bit more time to reach your destination if you know you will be traveling through a work zone.
The Illinois Department of Transportation reminds motorists to be alert while driving in a work zone because workers and heavy equipment may be very close to traffic. Additionally, paying attention to arrow boards and flaggers will help you navigate safely through the work zone.
If you or a family or friend were involved in a car accident, please call our office for a free consultation so we can discuss your rights and how best to handle your injury claim. There is no charge for speaking with one of our experienced attorneys so call us at (312) 422-0509.