As summer approaches, numerous construction projects are already underway throughout Chicago and greater Illinois. Troopers have tried to make sure that drivers are ready to exert cautious driving habits with “National Work Zone Awareness Week.” Troopers carried out educational activities from April 7, 2014 to April 11, 2014 to help drivers become aware of workers who will be assisting various construction projects along Interstate 74 and other roads of Illinois.Some of the troubling work zone accident statistics in Illinois have provoked a greater discussion on how drivers can exert more cautious driving behaviors. These Illinois statistics revealed:
- 29 people were killed in work zone accidents
- 24 people died in work zone accidents in 2011
- 2 of the individuals killed in 2011 were roadway construction workers
- 1,525 people were injured in work zone crashes
- 169 individuals have died in 2014 car accidents
The majority of work zone crashes take place in urban areas. In 2011, there were 4,406 work zone crashes that occurred in urban areas. A total of 457 work zone crashes occurred in rural areas. Illinois drivers should be aware that troopers have made it a point to increase patrols near work zones. This means that a driver may be pulled over if he or she is seen texting while driving or engaging in other distracting behaviors.
The Dangers of Work Zone Accidents
Highway work zone accidents can be deadly if a driver is distracted. A driver likely cannot see a construction worker if he or she is texting, surfing the web, reading online articles, listening to loud music or engaging in other distracting behaviors.
A construction worker may suffer from serious injuries if he or she is hit by a car. A car accident in a work zone can also quickly lead to a pile-up accident. A pile-up accident can be deadly for the numerous drivers, pedestrians and workers who may be involved. In this type of accident, a negligent driver could face serious civil and criminal liability for his or her actions.
Penalties Imposed Upon Drivers for Work Zone Accidents
There are numerous penalties in place that can affect careless Illinois drivers near work zone sites. A driver who is speeding near a work zone may face a ticket with a penalty of $375. A second-time offense will cost a driver $1,000 and a 90-day license suspension. Even if there is no road work in an area that is designated as a “work zone,” a driver may still face these penalties. If one hits a road worker in work zones, the penalty can be up to $10,000. This fee does not account for the civil damages that a driver may owe in a lawsuit initiated by an injured worker.
Distracted Driving and Other Causes of Work Zone Accidents
The use of smartphones is one of the leading causes of work zone accidents. As such, Illinois has joined numerous other states in implementing a complete cell-phone ban for the use of smartphones while driving on the road. In January of 2014, the Illinois legislature passed a law making it a traffic offense to hold or use a cell phone while driving on the road. The new law may also play a significant role in decreasing the number of work zone accidents that occur in Illinois every year.
As one drives near a construction zone, it is vital that he or she makes every effort to avoid engaging in dangerous driving behaviors. The following types of driving behaviors can place the lives of workers at risk:
- Texting while driving
- Talking on a cell phone
- Driving while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs
- Listening to loud music
- Improperly placed warning signs
Contact Our Illinois Work Zone Accident Lawyers for Further Assistance
If you have been involved in a work zone accident, it is important to get the help you need. Our Illinois work zone accident lawyers can analyze your case to determine whether you have a valid legal claim. Our attorneys are available to answer any questions you have about work zone laws and the rights of roadway workers.