Illinois is no stranger to construction, but unfortunately, the state is also becoming more familiar with fatal work zone crashes. There have been two deadly crashes in construction zones in the past two months. On March 25, six people were injured and one was killed in a crash near Elgin. On April 14, one driver was injured and the other was killed in an accident in a construction zone on I-90.
Much of Cook County and the collar counties are under construction. Improvements along I-90 continue to be made, Illinois is undertaking a significant project on the Jane Byrne exchange, and the state is widening the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway. The six-way intersection at Fullerton, Elston, and Damen is under construction through the end of the year. Six bridges along I-55 and Lake Shore Drive are being rebuilt to improve driving conditions around Soldier Field and McCormick Place. The Adams Street Bridge over Union Station’s Metra tracks is being rebuilt. There also are numerous lane reductions and closures in and around Chicago, condensing traffic.
And that’s only highway and road projects. Federal, state, and local projects to improve railways and pedestrian walks also create construction zones.
Under the law, drivers need to obey slower speed limits in work zones and should use caution. Not only can work zones become heavily congested during commuter traffic, but workers can be particularly close to the moving vehicles.
However, other drivers and passengers are more at risk for construction zone accidents than workers, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation. Between 2010 and 2014, there were an average of 4,500 work zone crashes every year, causing an average 1,100 injuries and 27 fatalities per year.
Many collisions are caused because of speeding in work zones and drivers not paying enough attention to the road and what’s around them. Distracted driving from eating and talking or texting on cell phones is also a major issue. Other factors like drowsy and drunk driving can lead to fatal accidents.
The minimum fine for being caught speeding in a work zone is $375 in Illinois. A second violation results in a minimum fine of $1,000 and a 3-month license suspension. By negotiating a lower fine, drivers usually end up with court supervision.
This also isn’t a ticket a person can merely pay and forget. Illinois requires drivers to show up in court for construction zone tickets.
Additionally, if a driver hurts a worker or another motorist in a construction zone, they can be charged with reckless driving, which is a felony. They’ll face jail time, higher fines, probation, and a license suspension.
If a driver kills someone in a work zone, they’ll be charged with reckless homicide, which is also a felony.
If you were injured by another driver in a construction zone, call an experienced Illinois lawyer today. You deserve to hold the at-fault driver responsible for their actions. A lawyer will help you handle any insurance claims you need to file. If you can’t settle with an insurer for some reason, your attorneys will advise your chances of success in court. To learn more about your recovery options, call Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. at (312) 236-2900.