Illinois Department of Transportation, Ann L. Schneider, Secretary
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Patrick J. Quinn, Governor
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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
This task force was established to define measures to increase the protection for highway workers from traffic injuries and fatalities resulting from motorists traveling through their work zones or areas where they are working on Interstate highways. These recommendations were developed by a team consisting of representatives of the labor trades, contractor organizations, and various state and federal transportation, enforcement and safety related agencies. The team maintained the focus on worker safety while balancing the need to maintain motorist safety and keep commercial and private vehicular traffic flowing safely through work zones.

THE LEGISLATIVE INITIATIVES CURRENTLY BEING PURSUED ARE:

  1. Increased penalties for work zone speeding with appropriations for increased state police patrols on construction projects.
  2. Strengthening judicial penalties for repeat offenders.
  3. Legislation enabling video enforcement of traffic laws in work zones.

The remaining recommendations are targeted at increasing motorists' awareness of their responsibility in the safety of highway workers, awareness of work zone traffic laws and providing communication to the motorists before entering a work zone and during travel through a work zone. Reaching out to drivers education programs and revising the "Rules of the Road,” public service announcements, and corporate safety sponsorships are included to increase overall work zone safety awareness. Transportation agency policies are being revised to provide motorists with work zones that are consistent in appearance. Work zone messages and signage are being changed to provide consistent and accurate information to motorists.

Transportation, enforcement and safety-related agencies together with labor and the construction industry will continue a series of short time framed task forces to address the implementation of short- and long-term measures identified by the task force. Many of the implemented measures will also improve work zone safety of rural highways and urban streets.


Work Zone Safety Task Force
Implementation Status

The following items are those which have been completed and/or implemented.

Better Defining a Work Zone
Effective with the April 2004 letting, projects on multi-lane facilities will have signs that better delineate the appropriate speed in a particular area of the work zone, the minimum fine for speeding, and also where it is safe to resume normal speed. Existing multi-lane construction projects will also have the revised signs.

Increase Use of Police to Enforce Work Zone Speed Limits
Funding for the State Police "Hire Back" Program has been increased from $1.25 million to $1.7 million. This will allow the department to hire additional state troopers for increased police enforcement on this season's construction projects. Active construction projects over the past winter have had increased state police presence.

Modify Driver Education Curriculum to Increase Focus on Work Zone Issues
A compact disc and associated teaching manual has been completed. The mailing to 1,500 high schools and private driver education facilities was started in February 2004.

Provide Increased Funding for Media PSAs
Funding to provide Public Service Announcements during prime time has been increased from $827,000 to $1 million.

Develop a Graphic Sign to Publicize Work Zone Related Penalties
Effective with the April 2004 letting projects on multi-lane facilities, the sign "Hit a Worker, $10,000 Fine, 14 Years Jail" will be posted. The sign will also be posted on existing multi-lane construction projects.

Place a Higher Emphasis on Work Zone Traffic Control
The department's resident engineers have been told personally by the Director of Highways to enforce the penalties to contractors who do not provide the required work zone traffic control. The resident engineers have been directed to drive through projects at a predetermined minimum frequency (depending on type and size of project) usually at least once per day to inspect the traffic control.

Develop More Consistent Looking Work Zones
Effective with the April 2004 letting, multi-lane construction projects with two lanes merging to one lane will have a more consistent look. The options have been eliminated. Directional barricades have been added to aid to the driver in knowing where to go. Existing multi-lane construction projects will also have these changes made to the projects.

Temporary Changeable Message Boards
Temporary changeable message boards are being used to better communicate to drivers what they need to do, and provide more consistency in work zones.

Increase Membership to the "Traffic Work Zone Safety" Committee
The membership has been increased to include the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority and OSHA.

Increased Law Enforcement Coordination Throughout the Project
At a series of winter meetings with the district construction staff, they have been told to increase their interactions with local law enforcement agencies who are involved on specific construction projects. This past winter coordinated efforts occurred with the department, state police, and local press in the Peoria area to raise motorist's awareness of Scott's Law ("Hit a Worker, $10,000 Fine/Go to Jail").

Educate Workers as to the Limitations of Barriers
A brochure has been developed to aid in the education of workers about safety limitations of traffic control barriers.

Use of Remote-Controlled Flagger Devices
The department is in the process of purchasing 20 devices for use in the districts this year, allowing flaggers to be moved further away from the moving traffic.

Require High Visibility Vests Meeting ANSI Class II on All Workers During Daytime Operations
The department will require all workers on a project to have higher visibility vests.

Require ANSI Class III High Visibility Garments During Nighttime Operations
The department is in the process of finalizing the requirement of highly reflective vests for nighttime.

The following items are being pursued legislatively:

Increase Fines for Speeding in a Work Zone
Total fine for first occurrence changes from $200 to $500. For second and subsequent occurrences, it goes up from $350 to $1,000.

Increase Use of Police to Enforce Work Zone Speed Limits and Encourage Voluntary Compliance
The current surcharge of $50 per ticket will increase to $125 for first occurrence and $250 for second and subsequent occurrences.

Change Legislation to Allow the Use of Photo Enforcement Technologies
The proposed legislation will allow photo enforcement techniques for work zones only. Due to the cost of the equipment, estimated $120,000 per unit, the equipment will be used as a pilot program the first year.

The following items are pending:

Expand Use of Innovative Enforcement Techniques
The department will cooperate with the Illinois State Police in upcoming construction projects to incorporate innovative work zone speed enforcement techniques.

Update "In the Zone" Brochure
The department will be updating the safety brochure: In the Zone: Driving Safely Through Construction and Emergency Zones, which explains various items associated with a work zone and the fines for speeding in a work zone.

Provide Positive Barrier Protection in Fixed Locations
The department is revising its policies and procedures to provide more barriers to protect workers from traffic.

Nighttime Illumination of the Flagger Station
The department will develop lighting guidelines for nighttime illumination of flaggers so they can be seen more easily by the driver.

The following are long-term items:

Revise the Rules of the Road Manual
Cooperating with the Secretary of State's office, the department will provide suggested improvements to the work zone portion of the Rules of the Road manual.

Investigate Corporate Sponsors
Pursuing sponsorship to help reach out to the motoring public to slow down and be careful when driving through a work zone will help increase motorist awareness of the dangers within work zones.

Portable Work Zone Traffic Control Systems and Surveillance Cameras
These systems can monitor traffic flow information and speeds to provide immediate feedback to traffic entering a work zone regarding expected delays.

Use of Crashworthy Protective Mobile Device
The department is encouraging industry to develop crashworthy mobile devices to better physically protect flaggers.

 

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