Skip to comments.IDOT, Tollway and State Police Warn Drivers to Prepare for Highway Construction Season
Posted on 04/11/2007 9:47:45 AM PDT by KOZ.
New tools this year include increased fines, loss of license and photo enforcement
CHICAGOThe Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) joined with the State Police and Illinois Tollway to remind motorists construction season is about to kick in to gear and warn that tough new laws are on the books that target drivers who flout work zone speed limits and endanger the lives of construction workers and other drivers.
Next week is Work Zone Safety Week and the traditional beginning to highway construction season. We want to send a message to motorists now to slow down in work zones, IDOT Secretary Timothy W. Martin said. If you are caught speeding in a work zone, at minimum you will be looking at a fine of $375, at worst, you can kill yourself, a loved one or a worker.
Under enhanced penalties passed by the Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Rod Blagojevich last year, first-time work zone speeders, including those caught on camera, will be hit with a fine of $375, with $125 of that sum going to pay off-duty State Troopers to provide added enforcement in construction or maintenance zones. Two-time offenders are subject to a $1,000 fine, including a $250 surcharge to hire Troopers, and the loss of their license for 90 days.
Starting in July, State Troopers will deploy specially equipped vans that can take photographs of drivers speeding in IDOT and Tollway construction and maintenance zones. Tickets will be issued by mail to vehicle owners.
In addition, drivers who hit a worker are subject for up to a $10,000 fine and 14 years in prison.
"Preventing the accidents and injuries caused by crashes occurring in work zones is a significant responsibility for the Illinois State Police," said ISP Director Larry Trent. We must protect these workers who ultimately make all of us safer by improving our roadways. Troopers assigned to work zone details will take a zero tolerance approach when issuing citations to speed limit violators. The message is clear -- Slow down; we're serious about workzone safety."
Gov. Blagojevich has set of goal of reducing traffic deaths to fewer than 1,000 a year by 2008. The work zone speeding crackdown is just one of the ways state transportation and law enforcement are working together to accomplish that goal.
According to provisional data from 2004, 39 people were killed in work zones last year, with two of them being workers. In 2003, 44 people were killed in work zones, with 5 being workers.
Since the Tollway just launched our $5.3 billion Congestion Relief Plan, drivers will see more work zones on the Tollway than they have in the past. Were doing our part to ensure construction areas are well marked and that drivers are well informed as they travel through our construction areas, said Illinois Tollway Executive Director Jack Hartman. But impatience, speeding and driver inattention are the leading factors in work zone crashes, so we need drivers to slow down and stay alert in work zones for their safety as well as our workers.
Under the provisions of the Automated Traffic Control Systems in Highway Construction or Maintenance Zones Act of 2004, Illinois State Police were given the authority to use cameras to enforce work zone speed limits in cases where workers are present. It also requires that signs be posted when work zone speed limits are being enforced by camera.
Photo enforcement vans will be equipped with cameras designed to record a clear image of the vehicle and driver, its speed, and registration plate. The registered owner will not be liable if someone else is driving the vehicle.
Photo speed enforcement will be taking place at various construction zones around the state, including on the Dan Ryan and Kingery projects and Tollway projects in the Chicago area as well as various downstate projects.
IDOT and Tollway officials stressed the importance of complying with work zone speed limits even when workers are not present because of the dangers posed by features such as narrow lanes, lane jogs, reduced shoulder width, obstructions and drop-offs.
IDOT and Tollway staffers will be conducting an outreach effort directed at members of the driving public on Friday, April 1, at highway rest stops and Tollway oases around the state.
The increased work zone speeding penalties and photo speed enforcement are just two of the recommendations of the Work Zone Safety Task Force assembled by Governor Blagojevich in 2003. Other recommendations of the Task Force, comprised of members from IDOT, Illinois State Police, the Tollway, Federal Highway Administration, labor and industry representatives include:
* Better defined work zonesprojects on multi-lane highways have signs better identifying the appropriate speed in a particular work zone and also when it is safe to resume normal speed. * Modified driver education curriculumA compact disc and teaching manuals have been mailed to more than 1,500 high schools and private driver education facilities. * New SignageA new sign has been developed and is being placed at projects throughout the state publicizing work zone related penalties, Hit a worker, $10,000 fine, 14 years in jail. * Enhanced use of stationary and portable changeable message boards in and around work zones. * More consistent looking work zones. * Remote controlled flaggersIDOT is using federal research funds to test 20 newly developed remote flagger workstations. * Trooper in a Truckallowing state police to covertly enforce speed limits, out-of-uniform and in IDOT trucks. * Trooper Hire-back$4.7 million has been identified to fund additional troopers in work zones throughout the state. Additional troopers allow state police to deploy work zone details in areas of heightened concern.
I'd gladly pay a couple of bucks to drive on a decent road on my routine trips from Houston to Lafayette.
So in order to relieve the congestion they are going to create more of it. Good plan!
Stupid IDOT is short a vowel.
Maybe we wouldn’t mind the IL tollway system if the roads were actually nicer. But they are worse the normal roads.
If this year is like past years, traffic will be so congested that no one will be going anywhere near fast enough to violate the speed limits.
Aren't they missing an "I" as in Illinois Department of Interstate Transportation?
joined with the State Police and Illinois Tollway to remind motorists construction season is about to kick in to gear and warn that tough new laws are on the books that target drivers who flout work zone speed limits and endanger the lives of construction workers and other drivers.
Yes, the good old "construction zone" racket. Put up 40 miles of barrels and call it a construction zone, but only work on about 1/8 mile of it at any given time and then only about two days a week. Works for North Carolina.
Next If you are caught speeding in a work zone, at minimum you will be looking at a fine of $375,
There is nothing greedier than government bureaucrats and politicians looking at someone else's hard earned money.
...politics as usual.
It may be me but I would change my name from IDOT to ITD.
thats one of the problems.....even with no constuction workers...ie at 3am...these IDiOTs will be collecting tax revenue.
all they have to do, and they do it often, is setup all those orange barrels, and voila, instant taxation. try fighting it in court, you won’t have a prayer.
Here in flyover country, the road construction contractors charge the state (taxpayers) $1/day per barrel, more for barricades. We still have barrels on the sides of the road for projects that have been finished for over a year. 40 miles of those things adds up quickly.
The head of the tollway was interviewed on WLS Saturday morning and when the host questioned the motives of this, he was very, very defensive.
I’m on the tollway pretty much every day. I’ll make sure I comply, even on late-night drives, because I have no desire to make a donation to the state. They’re selling this as a way to make safer conditions for construction workers and I can understand that because there have been some accidents; but, as you say, during off hours with no workers they’ll be collecting as well. It’s just another racket— kind of like the Tollway itself.
Nice racket - win win for the police (they can write more tickets) for the bureaucrats (they get more money) the contractor (they get more money). In fact a win for eveyone except the peasants who pay the taxes and the motorists who are force to drive slower and use up more of their lives in slow traffic, but who cares about them anyway?
Right - no trial needed - you are automatically an anti-safety scofflaw.
Also - ever notice how they set up construction zones with 3-5 miles of unnecessary lane closures before and after, creating even more of a bottleneck? I’m sure the claim is that they’re working up and down the zone at any given time but we’re all familiar with the usual setup: 7 guys leaning against a truck or a shovel watching another guy run a steamroller and they never go beyond a 100-yard patch.
They call them “Work Zones” but all I ever see is five supervisors standing around one guy with a shovel...
LOL, and they are all collecting overtime.
They are a little late on telling everyone the construction is going to start. It started some time ago, or never stopped. And besides, someone actually has to be out there in order to enforce anything. They actually have to hire or pay the troopers they claim are out there before anything happens.
And there is no way you can tell me the technology is such that they can tell how fast you are going via ‘cameras’. You could use cell phones or the i-pass units, but if they did, and the word got out, as it would, it would be their downfall, and they wouldn’t collect anyting anymore.