Highways get a lot of use, so it makes sense that they start to break down or need updates to better fit the traffic in the area. When that happens, work zones are set up so workers can fix the road. Some drivers get frustrated while going through work zones and end up speeding or driving recklessly, but that’s dangerous for everybody on the road.
Drivers who get overwhelmed by highway work zones can cause car accidents by driving recklessly, negligently, or by rubbernecking. In 2017, there were over 700 fatal work zone crashes in the United States, according to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). Over 90% of those crashes killed drivers and passengers in motor vehicles, but they also killed pedestrians, cyclists, and workers.
A car accident in a work zone can be catastrophic to everyone involved, especially highway workers who do not have the added safety of being inside a car. When you’re not sure who to turn to after your auto wreck, you can count on Prince Law Firm to stand by your side. We can help you recover after an accident that wasn’t your fault.
Illinois Work Zone Laws
If you’ve driven anywhere, you’ve probably encountered a work zone at one point or another, but you may not have known some crucial information. Before you encounter and drive through another highway work zone in Illinois, there are some facts you should know that were released from the Illinois Department of Transportation:
- Distracted driving laws. Using your phone for texting, e-mailing, or being on the internet are all illegal in our state. Phones are only allowed to be used in a hands-free way, which can still be distracting, but less distracting than any hand-held uses. Other than using your cell phone, doing tasks like eating, putting on makeup, and reaching for something inside the car can all be considered distracting driving. Stay alert while driving, especially in highway work zones because they require even more attention.
- Scott’s Law. According to Scott’s Law, or the Move Over Law, you are legally required to slow down and move over when you see emergency or maintenance vehicles that are stopped and flashing their emergency lights. In work zones, if you see a construction vehicle parked, you should move over to the farthest lane you are able to and proceed with caution.
- Photo enforcement. To combat speeding, which contributes to the 4,500 crashes that happen in work zones every year, photo speed enforcement is used in our state. Photo enforcement can only be used when workers are present, and there will be a sign clearly posted to alert you about the camera. If you speed through an active work zone and activate the radar, you will receive a ticket in the mail with a minimum fine of $375.
- Fines. In 2020, some fines in construction zones were updated through law changes. You could face fines between $100 and $1,000 if you disobey traffic-control devices in highway construction or maintenance zones. If you hit a worker in a construction zone, the maximum penalty you could be issued has been increased to $25,000. Scott’s Law fines were also increased, and your first offense now costs you $250, and a second offense could cost as much as $10,000.
Your best course of action to avoid crashes, tickets, and fines in work zones is to be cautious. Drive safely through the areas by slowing down and paying attention to other drivers, workers, and anything else happening in the work zone.
Prince Law Firm Can Help You
After a car accident in Illinois, you could be eligible for compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering if the driver who caused your crash was being negligent. At Prince Law Firm, our experienced Marion car accident lawyer can help you recover what you lost from the collision and move toward granting you peace of mind. If you believe you have a claim, reach out to our office today and we can discuss your legal options.