With construction season ramping up across the state, the Illinois Department of Transportation, Illinois State Police, Illinois Tollway, industry partners and frontline construction workers joined forces to remind drivers to put down the devices, keep their eyes on the road at all times and remember that “Work Zones Are a Sign to Slow Down.”
“Whatever your mode of transportation, if you are traveling in Illinois this year, you will be passing through work zones. The people behind the cones and barricades are someone’s father, mother, son, daughter, friend or neighbor. Please slow down and give them room to work, for your safety and ours,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Omer Osman.
The year’s theme for National Work Zone Awareness Week is “Work Zones Are a Sign to Slow Down,” reinforcing the message that the sight of signs alerting you to upcoming construction means decrease your speed and proceed with caution.
At all times, the public should be ready for lane closures, changes in traffic patterns, reduced speed limits and the presence of workers and equipment. To promote safety in the field this week, IDOT is once again promoting “tailgate talks” among its staff to give workers refreshers on work zone protocol.
Each year, more than 6,700 motor vehicle crashes on average occur in Illinois work zones, resulting in more than 1,600 injuries. In 2021, 25 people died in work zones in Illinois, none of which were workers, the first time that’s happened since 2015.
“Safety is always our top priority and we’re constantly looking for ways we can make work zones on our roads safer for everyone, but we need partners to join us in these efforts,” said Illinois Tollway Interim Executive Director Lanyea Griffin. “Our customers can assist us by taking extra precautions in work zones, including slowing down and staying alert for workers and emergency responders. Help them make it safely home to their families.”
The following guidelines for traveling through work zones should be always followed:
- Drop it and drive. Phones and electronic devices down at all times — it’s the law.
- Obey the signs. They will help you safely navigate work zones — and sometimes avoid delays.
- Slow down. The posted speed limits are there for the safety of workers and you.
- Be on the lookout for slowed or stopped traffic.
- Consider the limitations of heavy equipment, trucks and commercial vehicles. Provide them extra distance to come to a complete stop if they are behind you.
- A work zone can take many forms: A maintenance crew patching potholes or collecting litter, a major interstate reconstruction, a minor repair on a neighborhood street or a utility company out in the field. If you see orange, slow down and save lives.