Chicago Road Construction Accident Lawyers
Illinois drivers are very familiar with road construction and work zones. During the warmer months construction is prevalent throughout the city. While construction is a necessary to keep our roads safe, it can lead to hazardous conditions that create serious car accidents. Most drivers associate work zones with heavy traffic, lane closures, detours, uneven road conditions, unclear lane or pavement markings, debris and heavy machinery. This all can make work zones chaotic and extremely difficult to safely navigate a work zone. Drivers may get frustrated and drive aggressively, or they may be distracted by the work zone conditions and are not alert to the traffic and roadway in front of them.
National Road Work Zone Accident Statistics
The Federal Highway Administration reported that there were 87,606 accidents in work zones in 2010. Of that that, 37,476 people were injured. Furthermore, in 2010 there were 514 fatal motor vehicle accidents in work zones. In Illinois, on average, more than 43,000 work zone car crashes occur each year, with more than 1,000 resulting in injuries, according to Illinois Tollway. It is important to be alert while driving in a work zone and aware of the traffic and workers around you. When driving through a work zone you should slow down regardless of whether you see workers because traffic patterns can abruptly shift as traffic lanes become narrower.
One of the most common types of car accidents in a work zone is rear-end collisions because drivers navigating work zones don’t know what to expect and may make a sudden stop while other drivers are distracted and not able to react quickly. Given the congested nature of work zones, it is common for a rear-end collision to kick-start a chain reaction and create a multi-vehicle accident.
Every driver on the road has the duty to operate their car in a reasonably safe manner and to exercise ordinary care and caution so not to cause injury to other drivers or pedestrians, including construction workers. The government or private entity that is responsible for the implementing the construction has a duty to keep construction zones safe for workers and motorists by complying with federal and state safety regulations.
Illinois Work Zone Statistics
On a local level, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation, more than 4,500 motor vehicle crashes occurred in Illinois work zones between 2010 and 2014. Approximately two Illinois construction workers die in work zone crashes each year. But approximately 1,000 motorists are injured, and about 25 motorists die in work zone crashes in the state each year. This means, while construction workers are certainly at risk, drivers and passengers in the work zones are actually more likely to be victims in work zone crashes.
With this in mind, it is important to always stay diligent in your driving to make sure you and your passengers get from point A to point B safely, whether traveling open interstate or bogged down in highway construction.
Illinois Work Zone Safety Tips
Knowing you are at a greater risk of danger in a construction zone, what can you keep in mind to avoid an accident? Here are some tips for staying safe:
- Stay off your phone. In the state of Illinois, it is now illegal to send text messages, send emails, or browse the Internet while driving. In fact, while driving, you are only legally allowed to use your cell phone in hands-free or voice-operated mode. Especially when driving through a construction zone — with lowered speeds, cones, closed lanes, and frequent stops — you need to place your full and undivided attention at the wheel, not on your cell phone. Failure to do so can result at minimum in a $75 fine and at maximum a serious car accident.
- Pay attention to signs. Federal and state regulations dictate what signage must be placed leading up to and throughout construction zones. Paying close attention to these signs will ensure that you know when to slow down, when to merge, and when you might need to stop. You will also then know over how many miles the construction spans and can prepare to adjust your driving as necessary.
- Slow down. Regardless of the posted speed limits in a roadway work zone, it is always appropriate to reduce your driving speed. Slowing down will give you more time to react and more time to read signs and observe workers, and it will also decrease the amount of damage a potential collision could cause.
- Remember Scott’s Law. Scott’s Law, also known as the “Move Over Law,” requires that you reduce your speed and change lanes (if possible) when approaching an emergency vehicle stopped along the roadway. The law is named after Lt. Scott Gillen of the Chicago Fire Department, who was killed when hit by a car while assisting at a crash along Dan Ryan Expressway. If you see a police officer or other emergency response pulled over, remember you have a duty to slow down and move to the other lane to protect both you and the emergency response worker. If found in violation of this law, you could face up to $10,000 in fines and a suspended license, or worse.
- Use your local online resources. If you have a question about the laws applicable to motorists in work zones or want to read up on the laws in place, remember that you can visit various websites for the state of Illinois, including looking up the state’s Criminal Code and Vehicle Code.
If the worst does occur, and you are or a family member is injured during a work zone collision, one of the first things you should do is hire an experienced lawyer to investigate what happened and help you determine whether you are entitled to compensation.
Injured By an Accident in Chicago?
Finding and holding the responsible party accountable can be a challenge. The car accident lawyers at Stein & Shulman have over forty years of experience helping victims of motor vehicle accidents, including accidents involving construction sites and work zones. We understanding the devastating effects a car accident can have on a victim and a victim’s family and we will work diligently to obtain the compensation they deserve.
Free Case Review – Over 45 Years Combined Legal Experienced
If you or a family member or friend were involved in a car accident involving a work zone or construction site, contact our office for a free consultation. Our accident attorneys will evaluate your case and discuss how to best to handle your personal injury claim. For more information on your legal rights and how we may be able to help you recover damages, contact one of our experienced attorneys at (312) 422 -0500.