Construction Zones: Slow Down or Pay Up

construction zone, work zone offense, Illinois traffic violations attorneyAs the weather warms and spring rolls into Illinois, one of the surest signs of the season is the appearance of orange barrels on area roads and highways. A large number of roadway improvement projects get underway every year about this time, and 2015 is no exception. This year’s scheduled plans include a large-scale road widening and bridge rebuilding on Interstate 90, among many others. While such improvements are necessary for the long-term usability of the roadways, commuters and travelers are reminded that traffic violations in a construction zone carry increased fines and penalties.

The Illinois Tollway and the Illinois Department of Transportation estimate that more 4000 accidents occur in work zones throughout the state every year. Nearly a quarter of those result in injuries to occupants of the vehicle or road workers. In 2014, 29 deaths were related to construction zone accidents, including three workers. Many of these accidents, injuries, and fatalities could have been prevented by drivers paying closer attention to changing conditions and the safe operation of their vehicles.

Active or Not, Work Zones Can Be Dangerous

The speed limit in a construction zone is typically much lower than that on other areas of the road. This is not done to inconvenience drivers, but in recognition that the conditions present in a work zone create challenges for vehicles traveling at high speeds. Travel lanes are often narrower in constructions zones, so as to minimize the project’s impact on traffic flow, and patterns tend to shift often. In addition, lane markers may be obscured or missing, and pavement is often uneven as crews continue their work.

When active, the movement of workers and vehicles can also be distracting for drivers. Large pieces of road construction equipment may also create visibility issues, making it difficult for drivers to react quickly to changing situations. Slowing down and staying within the speed limit is vital to the safety of anyone in or around the work zone.

Penalties in a Construction Zone

Under Illinois law, a speeding violation in a construction carries a minimum fine of $375 for a first offense, regardless of whether workers were present at the time. A second offense results in a $1000 minimum fine. Further, multiple violates of speeding with workers present in the construction zone may result in a suspension of an individual’s driver’s license.

Penalties for hitting a road worker, of course, are even more severe. Such an accident can result in fines of up to $10,000 and 14 years in prison.

If you have received a citation for speeding in a construction zone, you may have options on how to proceed. Contact an experienced Illinois criminal defense attorney today for a free consultation. At the Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel LLC, Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney, we are committed to helping you get the aggressive, effective defense you deserve.

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