Slow Down! It’s Work Zone Awareness Week
Both the Illinois Department of Transportation, the Illinois Tollway Authority and a handful of other groups have launched the Embrace the Orange Campaign to reduce traffic related crashes, injuries and deaths in road work zones.
Work Zone Awareness Week began Monday, April 23rd and runs through Friday.
IDOT says there are an average of over 7,000 work zone crashes in Illinois each year. Last year, 24 people died in work zones statewide. Of the 24, one victim was a pedestrian, two were construction workers, and 21 were drivers or vehicle passengers.The goal is to reduce work zone deaths to zero.
“With 2012 construction under way, the Embrace the Orange campaign strongly encourages all motorists and workers to be extremely cautious this year and take all necessary steps to be aware and protect themselves in and around work zones,” said Illinois Department of Transportation Secretary Ann L. Schneider. “Last year, 21 fatal crashes in work zones occurred across the state, including one of IDOT’s own employees. Although this marks the lowest rate in four years, IDOT and its partners are determined to help ensure that there are no more work zone fatalities – one work zone crash, fatality or injury is one too many.”
According to IDOT speed and inattentiveness while driving through road construction areas are major contributing factors to work zone crashes.
“Construction zones can become fatal zones if road safety precautions are not followed and the Illinois State Police is committed to an overall zero fatality goal that also includes reducing work zone crashes,” said Illinois State Police Operational Services Commander Jay Keevan. “Our Driving Zero Fatalities to a Reality message is clear and it should remind every motorist that every life counts and one life lost is one too many.”
Since 2004, if you’re caught speeding through a work zone, the fine is $375 for first-time offenders, $1,000 for second-time offenders which also comes with the loss of the offender’s driver’s license for 90 days.
If If a motorist strikes a worker, they could face a $10,000 fine and up to 14 years in prison.
The Illinois State Police warn that photo speed enforcement vans will again be deployed during construction season.
Drivers should slow down while in work zones be attentive–especially if mobile speed cam vans are present. That’s because signs announcing the vans’ presence are posted at the entrance to a work zone and a speed indicator mounted above the van gives the driver a last chance to slow down before a ticket is issued by mail.
GEEK TIP: Give workers a brake. Slow down and pay attention driving through work zones this construction season. Not only is it safer for you and workers, but work zone tickets are costly.