Imagine a woman is rushing to work in the morning after a long night. Her toddler woke up with the flu and she was up with him for hours. She slept through her alarm clock and is now running late for an important work meeting. As she drives to drop her child off at her mother’s house, she hears the unmistakable sound of a sick toddler vomiting all over the back seat of her car.
The busy mother grabs a napkin from the dashboard and shoves it back in the general direction of the child. All of a sudden she hears a loud thud, but she does not see what she hit with her car. She gets out and realizes that she swerved into a construction zone and hit a construction worker. She may face a fine of over $25,000. In Illinois, the maximum penalty for hitting a worker in a construction zone has increased from $10,000 to $25,000.
Collisions on Construction Sites are More Common Than You Think
According to the Illinois Road and Transportation Builders Association, every year, between 4,500 and 5,000 motor vehicle crashes happen in Illinois construction zones. In 2017 alone, 5,423 work zone motor vehicle crashes resulted in 1,435 injuries and 30 deaths. Of the deaths, two were construction workers, 14 were drivers, 13 were passengers, and one was a pedestrian.
One of the most common causes of construction zone accidents is distracted driving. Illinois law prohibits the use of hand-held cell phones or other electronic communication devices while operating a motor vehicle. Negligent drivers who collide in a construction zone face a fine of up to $25,000 and possible liability in civil court.
Additionally, under Scott’s Law, drivers in Illinois must slow down when approaching any vehicle with hazard lights on, including maintenance and construction vehicles. Drivers are obligated to follow posted speed limits for the benefit of worker safety and for the safety of the motorists themselves. Illinois is serious about the safety of construction workers. Illinois regularly uses Photo Speed Enforcement when workers are present.
What Happens After Someone Accidentally Hits a Construction Worker?
If you ever collide with a construction worker, the most important thing to do is to stop your car, stay in your vehicle and call 911. You will also need to hire a skilled lawyer. As of 2020, the fine for hitting a construction worker increased to $25,000. Similarly, drivers who disable traffic-control devices in a maintenance or highway construction zone will face fines between $100 and $1,000.
At Glasgow & Olsson, our skilled criminal defense lawyers know how to fight for your rights. If you are facing fines for hitting a construction worker, we can negotiate on your behalf and represent your legal interests.