IDOT, state police, tollway join forces for National Work Zone
Awareness Week kickoff
Quinn's proclamation sets stage for campaign encouraging safety and
awareness in and around work zones
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[April 18, 2013]
SPRINGFIELD -- \As the 2013
construction season gets underway, the Illinois Department of
Transportation, the Illinois State Police, the Illinois Tollway and
key highway safety partners kicked off National Work Zone Awareness
Week, April 15-19, an awareness campaign to get people to slow down
and pay close attention to safety while driving in work zones.
This is part of an ongoing effort to reduce traffic-related
fatalities and serious injuries on Illinois roadways. The
collaborative campaign raises awareness of "No Cellphones in Work
Zones" and the "Move Over Law," both designed to decrease the number
and severity of crashes and save lives on Illinois roadways. Gov.
Pat Quinn recently signed a proclamation designating the month of
April as Work Zone Safety Month.
"The Illinois Department of Transportation is committed to safety
in our state's work zones, and educating the public about new and
existing laws is crucial in increasing awareness and reducing the
number of work-zone crashes," said Illinois Transportation Secretary
Ann L. Schneider. "Last year, 19 fatal crashes in work zones
occurred across the state. IDOT and its partners are determined to
help ensure that there are no more work-zone fatalities. Even one is
one too many."
Speed and inattentiveness are major contributing factors to
work-zone crashes. Conditions such as narrow or reduced lanes, edge
drop-offs, equipment next to moving lanes of traffic, and lane
closures require reductions in speed to safely travel through work
"Work-zone crashes are avoidable when motorists respect the rules
of the road and others working on the roads," said Illinois State
Police Lt. Col. Terry Lemming. "State police will be conducting
enforcement missions to ensure that speed limits are followed and
construction zones are safe and passable."
Distracted driving laws prohibit the use of all hand-held
electronic devices while driving in construction or school zones.
This includes hand-held wireless telephone devices for all drivers,
regardless of age. The use of electronic communications devices or
any other electronic device to text, email, compose, read or send
electronic messages or access Internet sites while driving a motor
vehicle at any time is prohibited.
"Work-zone safety is critical for drivers and their families, and
the men and women working on our roads," said Illinois Tollway
Executive Director Kristi Lafleur. "The Illinois Tollway is
investing $922 million in capital projects systemwide this year as
part of the Move Illinois Program, including the rebuilding and
widening of the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (I-90) from Rockford to
Elgin, so we need drivers to stay alert. Drivers must pay attention
to workers and each other as they navigate work zones during this
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Under regulations that took effect in 2004, work-zone speeding
fines are $375 for first-time offenders and $1,000 for second-time
offenders, with the loss of their driver's license for 90 days. If a
motorist hits a worker, the driver faces a $10,000 fine and up to 14
years in prison.
Photo speed enforcement vans operated by state police troopers
will be out in force again this year during construction season. The
work-zone fines apply to photo speed enforcement. Signs announcing
the vans' potential presence are posted prior to motorists entering
the work zone, and a speed indicator board above the van gives the
driver one last chance to slow down.
On average, there are over 7,000 work-zone motor vehicle crashes
in Illinois every year.
The 19 fatal work-zone crashes in 2012 involved fatalities to 13
drivers, three passengers and three pedestrians. Two of the
pedestrians were workers.
This is the 12th year for Work Zone Awareness Week in Illinois,
and several additional events are scheduled to promote safety.
Beginning Monday, the top of the iconic Tribune Tower at 435 N.
Michigan Ave. has lit up Chicago's skyline in orange. The lighted
tower reminds those traversing the high-traffic area that work zones
are dangerous and that safe driving saves lives. Photo kiosks with
interchangeable safety frames will be available to motorists at the
same location to further stress the importance of safe driving in
On Friday, IDOT workers, along with state police, tollway
representatives and local labor unions will be at rest stops
statewide, reminding motorists to drive safely in work zones.
In an effort to reduce fatalities on roadways, Illinois has
adopted an overall zero-fatality goal as part of the Illinois
Strategic Highway Plan, which includes a reduction in
work-zone-related fatalities, with measurable targeted reductions
every year. The agency's goal is to have zero worker fatalities and
reduce work-zone crashes by 5 percent annually. To help achieve this
goal, the agency recommends slowing down, obeying posted speed
limits, putting down the cellphone and avoiding distraction in a
For more information regarding National Work Zone Awareness Week
in Illinois, visit
Illinois Department of
Transportation file received from the
Illinois Office of
Communication and Information]