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October 21, 2014, 7:01 am
970 WMAY News

IDOT, ISP, and Other Call for Awareness in Work Zones

Priscilla Tobias, Dan Carter and Bill Kinney share their thoughts about the campaign
Dan Carter and Terry Fountain talk about work zones throughout the Springfield area

As the temperature rises, so will the number of orange cones across Illinois' roads. Last year the number of fatalities in construction zones was the lowest in four years.


The Illinois Department of Transpiration, along with State Police, labor unions and even private contractors want to take that number down to zero. "Driving Zero Fatalities to a Reality" and "embrace the orange" are this years slogans, but for one contractor, it goes beyond what can fit on a billboard or in an add, it's about life or death.


Bill Kinney, president of Kinney Contractors, gets a couple dozen contracting jobs a year from the state to work on Illinois roads. He says this is an important campaign because drivers must be aware while driving through construction zones. It's not just awareness. Drivers must also understand the implications of distracted driving. He remembers one day where an employee of his was hit by a tractor trailer truck driving through a work zone.


If a motorist hits a worker in a construction zone there's a fine of $10,000 and up to 14 years in prison. This week marks National Work Zone Awareness Week. Read the writing on the roadways--it's construction season and there are stiff penalties for speeding in construction zones.


The Illinois Department of Transpiration, along with the Illinois State Police, are reminding drivers that road construction work zones are not the places to break the law. ISP District 9 Master Sargent Dan Carter says that motorists will know if they are driving through a work zone. Hitting a worker comes with a $10,000 fine and 14 years in prison.


Priscilla Tobias, State Safety Engineer with the IDOT says knowing you're in a work zone is just part of the awareness. Drivers must also expect changing conditions like work crews, slow moving vehicles, lane shifts, closed lanes and traffic backups.


Last year 21 people were killed on the roads in construction zones. Motorists caught speeding in a work zone can get a $375 fine for the first offense and $1,000 for the second offense with a 90 day driving suspension. Work zone speed limits are in place 24 hours a day. This week marks National Work Zone Awareness Week.


The number of construction zone fatalities last year was the lowest number in four year, but the goal is zero. A group of contractors, law enforcement and Illinois Department of Transportation officials are teaming up to get the word out about the lethal implications of distracted driving--especially when road construction is ongoing.


Officials with the IDOT say conditions can change everyday like reduced lanes, edge drop offs, and heavy equipment next to moving lanes.  State police are using photo enforcing vans around the state, targeting work zone speeders.

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