Those bright orange signs and striping lines that designate a roadway work zone are popping up everywhere. They warn motorists to slow down and use caution but can challenge and frustrate even the safest drivers. Drive too fast or recklessly through a zone, and you can endanger yourself, your passengers, bicyclists and pedestrians. Even the road workers are at risk.
The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) website offers valuable tips to drivers as they navigate through the construction zones. Despite the warnings, far too many drivers ignore them. If drivers fail to follow that advice and an accident occurs, they may be held accountable for their actions.
Statistics tell the story
In the U.S., a work zone fatality occurs for every 4 billion vehicle miles of travel and for every $112 million worth of roadway construction expenditures.
Between 2019 and 2020, fatal crashes in work zones increased by 1.4 percent. In 2019, nearly one-quarter of all fatal work zone crashes involved rear-end collisions, though the overall percentage did decrease. Statistics showed an increase in crashes caused by speeding.
Persons on foot and bicyclists also saw a significant increase (21%) in work zone fatalities in 2020 compared to 2019.
IDOT’s tips for drivers
To avoid becoming a statistic, follow these suggestions from IDOT.
- Slow down and adjust your speed to the work zone speed limits. Posted speed limits throughout work zones are not a suggestion – they are the law! There is a Zero Tolerance policy against violations in work zones, and fines have increased.
- Pay attention. Avoid the temptation to check your iPhone or engage in other distracted driving activities.
- Be patient. Most of the time, work zones require lane closures. Follow the signs and arrow boards. Be alert to flaggers who are there to help you get safely through the work zone.
Above all, plan ahead. Check IDOT’s website for information about road closures and work zones. You may need to leave earlier to reach your destination on time.
Hiring a lawyer
If an accident occurs, the responsible party could be liable for money damages in a personal injury lawsuit or wrongful death lawsuit. The party could be you as the driver or multiple parties like the construction company or government agency responsible for the roadway.
Smith LaCien LLP has extensive experience in construction zone auto accidents when a catastrophic injury or wrongful death has occurred. If you believe you have a case or want further information, we can help. Contact us at [email protected] or call (312) 509-8900.