It’s road construction season again, and those involved are pleading with drivers to be careful. Safety in work zones is up to the drivers, says Bill Frey, executive director of the Associated General Contractors of Illinois. “No matter how many signs, barricades and barrels we place, it comes down to personal responsibility – not just for the workers, but more importantly, for the drivers. Drivers are 100 times more likely to be injured in a work zone accident than the workers themselves,” he said at a news conference at the IDOT depot in Riverton in observance of National Work Zone Awareness Week.
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In work zone crashes in Illinois last year, 29 people were killed, including three workers. There were more than 4,300 crashes.
IDOT urges drivers to pay attention – it’s illegal to talk on a hand-held phone in a work zone, or to text and e-mail while driving anywhere – and to observe the work zone speed limits.
Cops will be writing tickets. State police wrote 4,000 last year. A first offense for speeding in a work zone is $375. A second offense is $1,000, and if workers are present, drivers can lose their license for up to 90 days. The penalty for hitting a worker is a $10,000 fine and up to 14 years in prison.