Illinois Road Construction Zone Accident Lawyers
"A work zone is an area of a traffic way where construction, maintenance, or utility work activities are identified by warning signs, signals, and indicators, including those on transport devices that mark the beginning and end of construction, maintenance, or utility work activity. It extends from the first warning sign, signal or flashing lights to the END ROAD WORK sign or the last traffic control device pertinent for that work activity. Work zones also include roadway sections where there is ongoing, moving work activity such as lane line painting or roadside mowing only if the beginning of the ongoing, moving work activity is designated by warning signs or signals. A work zone crash is a motor vehicle traffic crash in which the first harmful event occurs within the boundaries of a work zone, or an approach to or exit from a work zone, resulting in activity, behavior, or control related to the movement of the traffic units through the work zone."
Understandably, the State has carefully defined a road construction work zone due to the rate of serious road construction accidents that take place in these areas every year. According to crash data from IDOT relating to work zone crashes in 2017,
- Of 5,423 reported traffic accidents reported within a designated work zone along Illinois roadways, 1,435 people were injured, and 30 people lost their lives in crashes
- Roadwork zone accidents have decreased substantially over the past four years of available data. The reports suggest that injuries and fatalities have been reduced by 16% and 11.4%, respectively, between 2013 and 2017.
Injuries to Motorists in Illinois Highway Construction Accidents
Speed and driver inattentiveness are primary factors involved in traffic accidents occurring in roadway construction areas. When drivers fail to abide by reduced speed limits or take notice of redirected traffic flow, collisions involving injuries can quickly happen. Inattention creates an environment where there is practically nothing a motorist can do to avoid an impending collision in a congested work area.
To help improve the safety of drivers and passengers, the AAMVA Model Driver Manual suggests the following:
- Watch the traffic around you and be prepared to react by reducing your speed, obeying signs and flaggers, and increasing your following distance.
- Do not become oblivious to work zone signs when the work is long-term or widespread. Be aware that traffic patterns in work zones can change daily, including lane shifts or alternating lane closures, to create a safe work environment.
- If traffic is light and speeds are still relatively high, merge early. If congestion increases, traffic slows down, and gaps between cars get smaller, merge late and use the “zipper” method.
- Use extreme caution when driving through a work zone at night, whether workers are present or not. Watch the road, and don’t use cell phones.
- Adjust your lane position away from the side where workers and equipment are located when possible.
- Some construction zones are mobile and moving, such as when line painting, road patching, or mowing are occurring. Just because you do not see the construction workers after you see the warning sign does not mean crews are not there. Observe the posted signs until you see the one that says, “End of Road Work.”
- Expect delays, plan for them, and leave early to reach your destination on time.
- When you can, avoid construction zones altogether by using alternate routes.
Injuries to Workers During Road Construction
The Federal Highway Administration estimates that 20,000 skilled workers are injured every year on roadway construction job sites. Over the past five years, more than 115 workers have lost their lives while working on highway projects, accounting for more than 1.5% of all work-related fatalities.
Statistics reveal that machinery is a significant factor in work zone accidents involving construction crews, large trucks, truck drivers, and passenger cars.
- Runovers/backovers (often by dump trucks): 48%
- Collision Between Vehicles / Mobile Equipment: 14%
- Caught in Between/Struck by Construction Equipment and Objects: 14%
- Rear-end collisions (6%)
Illinois Road Construction Law
As a recognized threat to the safety of motorists and skilled workers, the Illinois legislature has adapted some of the most comprehensive highway construction safety laws in the country.
(625 ILCS 5/11-605.1)
Sec. 11-605.1. Special limit while traveling through a highway construction or maintenance speed zone.
(a) A person may not operate a motor vehicle in a construction or maintenance speed zone at a speed in excess of the posted speed limit.
(b) Nothing in this Chapter prohibits the use of electronic speed-detecting devices within 500 feet of signs within a construction or maintenance speed zone indicating the zone, as defined in this Section, nor shall evidence obtained by use of those devices be inadmissible in any prosecution for speeding, provided the use of the device shall apply only to the enforcement of the speed limit in the construction or maintenance speed zone"
Drivers who fail to adhere to this law are subject to an initial fine of $375 for speeding in a work zone. Repeat offenders face a $1,000 fine. If a driver is cited more than two times within two years, they may lose their driver’s license for 90 days. The penalties for speeding in an Illinois roadway construction zone increase substantially when an accident ensures as a driver is subject to a $10,000 fine and a prison sentence depending on the nature of the crash.
- The driver of a vehicle
- Construction companies
- Safety inspection companies
- Local governmental entities
Investigators, insurance companies, or the Illinois state police may have expressed their opinion on how your accident occurred. However, Jonathan Rosenfeld will evaluate each circumstance to determine which party’s negligence may be responsible for your injuries. Particularly in highway repair accidents involving governmental entities, it is essential to conduct a thorough investigation as soon as feasible. The statute of limitations may have shortened time for filing a lawsuit compared with other types of personal injury cases.
Victims of construction zone accidents should speak to a highway construction accident attorney today at (888) 424-5757. Let our law firm begin the process of getting full compensation for your injuries.