Illinois Traffic Safety Campaign Prioritizes the Safety of Workers During Construction Season
As summer approaches, numerous construction projects are underway throughout Chicago and greater Illinois. Troopers have tried to ensure drivers are ready to exert cautious driving habits with “National Work Zone Awareness Week.”
Troopers conducted educational activities from April 7, 2014, to April 11, 2014, to help drivers become aware of workers assisting various construction projects along Interstate 74 and other roads in Illinois.
Some 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 died in 2014 car accidents
The majority of work zone crashes take place in urban areas. In 2011, 4,406 work zone crashes 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 they are 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 they are 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 they are 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 involved. In this type of accident, a negligent driver could face serious civil and criminal liability for their 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 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 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 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 using smartphones while driving. In January 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 significantly decrease the number of work zone accidents that occur in Illinois every year.
As one drives near a construction zone, one must try 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
What is the Goal of the Safety Campaign?
Illinois safety leaders launched a “Give Them Distance” campaign to emphasize the importance of the state’s Move Over law. The safety campaign was initiated by the governor, along with representatives from various organizations including the following:
- Illinois Tollway
- Illinois Department of Transportation
- Illinois State Police
- Mid-West Truckers Association
The national safety campaign hopes to raise awareness about the law and promote safer driving practices.
The Move Over law, also known as Scott’s Law, was enacted in 2002 after a tragic incident involving Lt. Scott Gillen of the Chicago Fire Department.
It requires drivers to slow down and move over when approaching stopped emergency vehicles or any vehicle with hazard lights flashing. Violating the law can result in severe penalties, including fines up to $10,000, a two-year suspension of driving privileges, and potential jail time.
The safety campaign aims to educate drivers about the importance of giving emergency personnel and stranded vehicles enough space on the road.
By following the Move Over law, drivers can help protect those who work tirelessly to keep everyone safe. It is crucial for all drivers to understand the law’s expanded scope and take necessary precautions to ensure the safety of themselves and others on the road.
Support and Compensation: Workers’ Compensation Benefits for Construction Zone Workers Injured by Negligent Motorists
Construction zone workers who sustain injuries due to the negligence of a motorist may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits to help cover their medical expenses and provide financial support during their recovery. While specific benefits can vary depending on the jurisdiction and circumstances of the accident, injured workers can generally expect the following:
- Medical Expenses
- Wage Replacement
- Temporary Disability Benefits
- Permanent Disability Benefits
- Vocational Rehabilitation
It is important for injured construction zone workers to consult with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to understand their rights, navigate the claims process, and ensure they receive the full range of benefits they are entitled to under the law.
Contact Our Illinois Personal Injury Lawyers for Further Assistance
If you have been involved in a work zone accident, getting the help you need is important. Our Illinois workers’ compensation injury 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.