Illinois Department of Transportation, Ann L. Schneider, Secretary
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 24, 2013

CONTACT:
Paris Ervin 217.782.5025
Jae Miller 312.814.4693

IDOT to Track Motorist Speed on Interstate Construction Projects in Metro East

Speed Indicator Boards to Encourage Safe Driving in Work Zones

COLLINSVILLE - Starting today, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) will begin using speed indicator boards in the Metro East area on interstate construction projects to display the speed of approaching vehicles in work zones. The radar technology captures the speed of drivers and displays it on the speed indicator board. If motorists are exceeding the pre-set speed limit, the sign flashes the real time speed of oncoming vehicles. This is the first time this technology has been used in construction zones the area.

“We want to ensure we are doing everything we can to save lives in work zones,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann L. Schneider. “We are confident using this technology will help change driver behavior, raise awareness and encourage motorists to obey the work zone speed limit.”

April is Work Zone Safety Month in Illinois and motorists can expect significant maintenance and construction activity starting statewide. Speed and inattentiveness are major contributing factors to work zone crashes. Conditions such as narrow or reduced lanes, edge drop offs, equipment next to moving lanes of traffic, and lane closures require reductions in speed to safely travel through work zones.

Illinois Representative Jay Hoffman has worked diligently to help identify strategies to make work zones safer.

“This program to install speed indicator boards in interstate work zone areas will save lives and help prevent work zone accidents by allowing drivers to better realize how fast they are driving and slow down,” Representative Hoffman said. “As roadway construction season ramps up, it is important that we do all we can to protect motorists and construction workers who put themselves in harm’s way.”

Under regulations that took effect in 2004, work zone speed fines are $375 for first-time offenders and $1,000 for second-time offenders, with the loss of their driver’s license for 90 days. If a motorist hits a worker, they face a $10,000 fine and up to 14 years in prison. Photo speed enforcement vans operated by State Police Troopers will be out in force again this year during construction season. The work zone fines apply to photo speed enforcement. Signs announcing the vans’ potential presence are posted prior to motorists entering the zone and the speed indicator board gives the driver one last chance to slow down.

“Work zone crashes are avoidable when motorists respect the rules of the road and others working on the roads,” said Illinois State Police Lieutenant Colonel Terry Lemming. “State police will be conducting enforcement missions to ensure that speed limits are followed and construction zones are safe and passable.”

On average, there are over 7,000 work zone motor vehicle crashes in Illinois every year. The 19 fatal work zone crashes in 2012, involved fatalities to 13 drivers, three passengers, and three pedestrians. Two of the pedestrians were workers.

“We do not want to lose the life of another worker to something that can be prevented,” said Glyn Ramage, Business Manager of Southwestern Illinois Laborers District Council. “Motorists need to slow down, put away their cell phones and pay attention to help ensure our workers make it home to their families safely.”

In an effort to reduce fatalities on roadways, Illinois has adopted an overall zero fatality goal as part of the Illinois Strategic Highway Plan. The agency’s goal is to have zero worker fatalities and reduce work zone crashes by five percent annually. To help achieve this goal, the agency recommends slowing down, obeying posted speed limits, putting down the cell phone and avoiding distraction in a work zone.

“Keeping our roadways safe for motorists and construction workers is one of my top priorities. With road construction projects underway, it is important that drivers stay alert and slow down in work zones and these speed indicator boards will assist in that effort,” Representative Dan Beiser said. “Even if this program helps to save one life, it will be well worth it.”

For more information regarding work zone safety, please visit at http://embracetheorange.com/.

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