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New penalties from Illinois DOT help prevent accidents on the job

On behalf of Jeffrey Frederick of Frederick & Hagle posted in Workplace Accidents on Thursday, January 16, 2014.

Driving faster than the speed limit allows is never a good idea. Not only is it dangerous, it’s against the law. When it happens in a construction work zone, it is not unusual for accidents on the job to occur. New penalties from the Illinois Department of Transportation are one way to help prevent that from happening.

Speed limits set for work zones are different from regular speed limits. They are usually temporary and are set at a lower speed than what is enforced when the area is not a work zone. Penalties for breaking traffic laws in a work zone are harsher and meant to make people think twice before breaking them. Despite that, accidents happen regularly and cause serious injury and death.

The previous fines for speeding are still applicable in posted work zones. For an initial offense, the fine is just under $400. The second time it happens the penalty rises to $1,000. This applies regardless of whether workers are there at the time the offense takes place or if the job site is vacant. If a worker is hit by a motorist while in a work zone, the maximum penalty is $10,000 and nearly 15 years imprisonment.

The new law increases the penalty if driving over the speed limit occurs when workers are on the job. Police will track and record when workers are in the area, which will then be monitored by the secretary of state. People caught committing two speeding offenses in two years will have their driver’s license suspended.

Last year marked the first time in 12 years that no Illinois road workers were killed while in a work zone. Officials would like that trend to continue and are hoping these new penalties will do their part to make that possible. If it fails, and accidents on the job occur, the victims and their families may then turn to claims for worker’s compensation benefits as a way to move forward.

Source: wics.com, New Penalties for Speeding in Work Zones, No author, Jan. 9, 2014

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