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Accidents in Roadway Work Zones

construction zone, Illinois Criminal Defense LawyerThere is a good reason that the speed limit changes and is strictly enforced in areas that are under construction. While the rate of accidents in a construction zone have steadily decreased in recent years, there were still more than 87,000 crashes in work zones in 2010, the most recent year for which data is available. While this is less than 2 percent of the total number of roadway crashes in any given year, it is still a staggering number—and 30 percent of these accidents resulted in injury.

The vast majority (70 percent) of work zone accidents occur, perhaps surprisingly, during the day between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. One can then reasonably infer that the rate of roadside crashes in a work zone were less likely to be the fault of DUI and more likely attributed to driver error and negligence.

The types of crashes that occurred in the day versus nighttime vary wildly. At night, regardless of whether or not there were lane closures or active work, the percentage of type of crash hovered at about 30 percent each. Conversely, crashes in zones in which there was active and no lane closures amounted for more than 50 percent of work zone crashes that occurred during the daytime. Work zones with active work and lane closures, and those in which there was no active work or lane closures, amounted for roughly 47–48 percent of work zone crashes.

While one-third of these crashes resulted in injury, the majority of these were property-only damage. Regardless, the punishments for having an accident in a work zone can be strict.

In Illinois, if you are speeding in a work zone, workers do not have to be present in the work zone for it to be a ticketable offense. Moreover, fines begin at $75 for the first offense and increase double for subsequent offenses. If you accidentally hit a worker in a work zone, you can be charged with reckless homicide—usually a Class 3 felony. If the reckless homicide occurs in a work zone, it becomes a Class 3 homicide and punishable by imprisonment of 3–14 years.

If you or someone you know has been charged with a work zone traffic violation, the most important step is to seek legal counsel. Please contact an experienced DuPage County criminal defense attorney today to discuss your case and your options.

Sources:

http://www.ops.fhwa.dot.gov/wz/resources/facts_stats/injuries_fatalities.htm

http://www.idot.illinois.gov/assets/uploads/files/travel-information/pamphlets-&-brochures/workzone%20il%20fact%20sheet.pdf

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