Transportation Agencies Announce Reduction in
Work Zone Crashes
Slowing Down Saves Lives on Illinois
SPRINGFIELD – As the 2009 highway
construction season gets underway, Acting Illinois
Transportation Secretary Gary Hannig announced that work zone
fatalities are down 29.6 percent compared to 2003. Aggressive
law enforcement and education campaigns and significant
improvements to work zone safety traffic control reduced
Illinois work zone fatalities from 44 in 2003, including 5
workers, to provisionally 31 with 2 workers killed in 2008.
At events in Chicago, Champaign, Metro East
and Rock Island, the Illinois Department of Transportation
(IDOT), the Illinois State Police (ISP), the Illinois Tollway
reminded drivers to slow down and be alert in work zones. Work
zone safety advocates will conduct outreach activities at rest
areas across the state on Friday as part of the 10th Anniversary
of National Work Zone Awareness Week which runs April 6-10,
“Thanks to strict enforcement by ISP and
cooperation from the public, we have made steady progress in
protecting people in work zones,” said Acting Secretary Hannig.
“Our goal is to protect the lives of the many dedicated workers
who are improving our roadways, as well as drivers and
passengers traveling through work zones.”
Following an alarming spike in work zone
fatalities in 2003, the State of Illinois convened a Work Zone
Safety Task Force which recommended a number of steps to reduce
work zone crashes and improve highway work zone safety;
including stiffer penalties for speeding in a work zone and
photo enforcement of speed limits within work zones. From the
high 44 work zone fatalities, including five workers, in 2003,
the state recorded 38 work zone fatalities, including two
workers, in 2004; 25, including one worker, in 2005; 29,
including one worker, in 2006; and
21, including two workers, in 2007. Under the toughened work
zone speeding fines that took effect in 2004, first time
offenders face a $375 fine; second time offenders face a $1,000
fine and the loss of their drivers’ license for 90 days.
"The Illinois State Police is committed to
ensuring the safety of workers and motorists during the upcoming
construction season," said Acting ISP Director Jonathon E.
Monken. "Troopers will be strictly enforcing work zone speed
limits and the "move over" law which requires motorists to slow
down and, if possible, change lanes when approaching police,
emergency or construction vehicles displaying flashing warning
lights. We will continue to utilize tools, such as the
Motorcycle Enforcement Bureau and photo enforcement, to help
reduce injuries and fatalities on
“When you see a work zone, slow down and
drive with caution, said John Penn, Vice President and Regional
Manager of the Laborers’ International Union of North America.
“The men and women working in construction zones have families
to go home to and we want to urge everyone to drive through work
zones as if one of these workers were members of your family.”
“Enforcement efforts by the ISP have played a
critical role in keeping workers and motorists safe during the
massive roadway rebuilding and widening projects underway across
the 286-mile Illinois Tollway system,” said Illinois Tollway
Acting Executive Director Michael T. King. “By the end of this
construction season, the Illinois Tollway will have completed
more than 80 percent of the $6.3 billion Congestion-Relief
Program improvements. We thank drivers for slowing down and
paying attention in work zones over the past four years and ask
patience and cooperation again this year.”
In Illinois, there are, on average, more than
7,000 crashes in highway work zones every year, resulting in
approximately 2,600 injuries.
Photo speed enforcement vans operated by
State Police Troopers were deployed for the first time in the
2006 construction season. Four vans will be active this
construction season at various locations throughout the state.
Troopers have issued over 7,200 citations since implementation
of the program.
The marked white photo speed enforcement vans
are equipped with the latest in photo radar technology designed
to record the speed of vehicles and to capture clear images of
the driver and the license plate. Tickets are sent by certified
mail to drivers within 14 business days and court appearance is
The vans are staffed by specially trained
State Police Troopers and are used in work zones where workers
are present. Signs will be placed in project locations where
photo speed enforcement will be occurring.
These vans are an additional state of the art
enforcement tool that helps reduce fatalities in work zones.
Motorists, as well as workers, are at risk when driving in work
zones due to configurations that can include narrower lanes,
lane shifts, pavement edge drop-offs, closed shoulders and lane
closures. Driving at slower speeds allows motorists more time to
react to changed conditions.