It is said that Chicago has two seasons: winter and road construction.
Indeed road construction in the Chicagoland area is a necessary constant as our climate and heavy traffic usage necessitate ongoing roadwork and maintenance to keep streets safe and drivable. While we have become accustomed to seeing cones and construction horses parked along the side of the roadway, drivers need to be aware that despite their prevalence, accidents in road construction zones pose a serious danger to both motorists and road construction crews alike.
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers represents motorists and workers injured in motor vehicle accidents in Illinois road construction zones. Due to the congested nature of these areas, these collisions frequently involve multiple parties and signifiant injuries. Regardless of the Illinois jurisdiction, our team of attorneys stands ready to assist you with your case to achieve maximum recovery for you. Complete our online contact form for a free case review with an experienced attorney.
The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) defines a work zone as;
A work zone is an area of a trafficway 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 a 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 accidents that take place in these areas every year. According to crash data from IDOT relating to work zone crashes in 2011,
- Of 4,863 reported traffic accidents reported within a designated work zone along Illinois roadways, 1,525 people were injured and 24 people lost their lives in accidents
- Roadwork zone accidents have decreased substantially over the past 4 years, as data suggests that injuries and fatalities have been reduced by 25% and 17.2% respectively between 2007 and 2011.
Speed and driver inattentiveness are primary factors involved in traffic accidents occurring in road construction areas. When drivers fail to abide by reduced speed limits or take notice of redirected traffic flow collisions involving injuries can easily occur as any practically nothing a motorist can do to avoid an impeding collision in a congested work area.
In order to help improve the safety for drivers and passengers, 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 and be aware that traffic patterns in work zones can change daily including lane shifts or alternating lane closures.
- If traffic is light and speeds are still relatively high, merge early. If congestion increases, traffic slows down and gaps between cars close up, merge late and use the “zipper” method.
- Use extreme caution when driving through a work zone at night whether workers are present or not.
- Adjust your lane position away from the side where workers and equipment are located when possible.
- Some work zones are mobile and moving, such as when line painting, road patching or mowing are occurring. Just because you do not see the workers immediately after you see the warning sign does not mean they are not out there. Observe the posted signs until you see the one that says “End Road Work.”
- Expect delays, plan for them and leave early to reach your destination on time.
- When you can, avoid work zones altogether by using alternate routes.
The Federal Highway Administration estimates that 20,000 skilled workers are injured every year on road construction job sites. Over the past five years, more than 100 workers have lost their lives while working on highway projects, accounting for more than 1.5% of all work-related fatalities.
In evaluated worker fatalities during the course of highway construction projects accidents with cars, trucks and construction machinery were significant factors in worker injury and death.
- Runovers / backovers (often by dump trucks): 48%
- Collision Between Vehicles / Mobile Equipment: 14%
- Caught in Between/Struck by Construction Equipment and Objects: 14%
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 drivers license for 90 days. The penalties for speeding in an Illinois road 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 accident.Illinois Highway Construction Accident Attorneys
The accident attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers are well aware of the dangers posed to motorists and construction workers by highway construction zones. Depending on the nature of the accident, a legal claim for damages may be pursued against various parties who may be responsible for the accident including:
- Driver of a vehicle
- Construction companies
- Safety inspection companies
- Local governmental entities
Our goal to fully investigate all avenues of recovery in order to provide the best results for our clients. Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers has Chicago highway construction accident attorneys who have experience investigating roadway work zone accident scenes and litigating the inherent complexities involved when there are multiple parties responsible for an accident.
Regardless of what you may have initially been told about how an incident occurred, our lawyers with evaluate each circumstance to determine which parties negligence may be responsible for your injuries. Particularly in highway repair accidents involving governmental entities, it is important to conduct a thorough investigation as soon as feasible as these cases may have shortened time for filing a lawsuit compared with other types of personal injury cases.
Speak to a highway construction accident attorney today and begin the process of getting full compensation for your injuries. (888) 424-5757