National Work Zone Awareness Week

“I know we all appreciate the work by IDOT construction workers to keep our roads and bridges in a safe condition," said Rep. Brad Halbrook, who serves on the Cities & Villages Committee and the Counties & Townships Committee. "I join in asking that drivers slow down in work zones and not text and drive to help save lives."

Governor Bruce Rauner joined state and federal transportation officials this week to kick off National Work Zone Awareness Week in Illinois. Drivers are being reminded to slow down and give workers adequate space as construction season ramps up.

“Construction workers have one of the most dangerous jobs in the state. They put themselves in harm’s way every day to make sure we all have decent roads to travel,” Rauner said.

The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) is partnering with the U.S. Department of Transportation, Illinois State Police, Illinois Tollway and other local and national partners to spread the word about work zone safety. The theme this year is “Work Zone Safety – Everybody’s Responsibility.”

There are about 5,200 work zone crashes in Illinois each year. In 2017, 29 people died in a work zone. IDOT Secretary Randy Blankenhorn says it’s not just construction workers who are killed or injured in these areas.

“Almost four out of five work zone fatalities involve someone other than a worker. That’s why it’s critical that work zones be safe for all – workers, motorists, freight haulers, drivers, pedestrians and cyclists alike,” Blankenhorn said. “As the transportation hub of North America, Illinois will have work zones of all sizes this construction season. Everyone has to be diligent when it comes to keeping safe.”

In recent years, Illinois has strengthened laws to increase safety in work zones. Fines for speeding in work zones are $375 for first-time offenders and $1,000 for a second offense. The penalty for hitting a worker is a fine of up to $10,000 and 14 years in prison.

“The Illinois State Police is committed to ensuring the safety of the motoring public, construction zone workers, and emergency personnel who are working in areas where highway construction is occurring,” said ISP Director Leo P. Schmitz. “Our Troopers will strictly enforce work zone posted speed limits and distracted driving violations. Please be extra cautious when traveling through Work Zones. Give Them a Break! Slow Down and Move Over!”

To promote safety in the field, IDOT is working with its industry partners to host “tailgate talks” at construction sites throughout the week. The discussions provide workers with refreshers on work zone protocol to encourage safety throughout the construction season. This Friday, April 13th, Laborers will continue their tradition of staffing rest areas across the state and distributing materials that stress the importance of safe driving through work zones.

To learn more work zone rules and driving tips, an online quiz is available at idot.illinois.gov

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