“You play a role in work zone safety” Illinois Tollway and other state agencies remind drivers during National Work Zone Awareness Week

You play a role in work zone safety Illinois Tollway and other state agencies remind drivers during National Work Zone Awareness Week

Reminding drivers that they play a critical role in maintaining safe work zones, the Illinois Tollway is joining other safety and transportation agencies, industry partners and construction workers to mark National Work Zone Awareness Week 
With roadway construction occurring across Illinois, including nearly $1.5 billion the Tollway plans to invest in reconstructing and expanding its 294-mile system, drivers need to slow down, put away electronic devices and remember that “You play a role in work zone safety.”
”We’re asking drivers to take precautions in the work zones they will encounter this year as we make improvements that will result in safer, more efficient roads,” said Illinois Tollway Executive director Cassaundra Rouse. “Safety is our highest priority but we need drivers to help us protect the men and women who are doing this work. By working together, we can make our roads safer for everyone.”
The theme for National Work Zone Awareness Week this year is aimed at drivers: “You Play a Role in Work Zone Safety. Work With Us.” The message is intended remind drivers to slow down and proceed cautiously when they see signs alerting them of upcoming work zones. To call attention to the potential dangers of work zones, Gov. Pritzker has proclaimed April 17-21 as “Work Zone Safety Awareness Week” in Illinois. 
In work zones, drivers 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, the Illinois Department of Transportation is once again promoting “tailgate talks” among its staff to give workers refreshers on work zone protocol. 
“Starting Year Five of Gov. JB Pritzker’s Rebuild Illinois capital program, with a boost from the federal infrastructure package, you can expect to encounter active projects all over the state regardless of your mode of transportation,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Omer Osman. “When you pass through these work zones, please remember the people behind the cones and barricades. Like you, they want to get home safely to their friends and family at the end of the day. Please help ensure your safety and theirs by slowing down and giving them room to work.”  
Each year, more than 6,000 motor vehicle crashes on average occur in Illinois work zones, resulting in more than 1,500 injuries. As of Jan. 31, preliminary statistics for 2022 show that 32 people died in work zones in Illinois, two of which were workers.
“Already this year, five Illinois State Police troopers have been injured because people didn’t slow down and move over when they saw the flashing lights of an emergency vehicle,” said Illinois State Police Director Brendan F. Kelly.  “First responders and highway maintainers put their lives on the line every time they work on a roadway with cars speeding past.  Do your part to help keep them safe – pay attention, slow down, and move over as you drive near and through work zones.”  
The following guidelines for traveling through work zones should be followed at all times: 

  • 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. 

For additional facts, printable materials and information on projects this year in Illinois, click here or visit idot.click/work-zones
Work zone safety will be another element of IDOT’s comprehensive multimedia campaign, “It’s Not a Game,” highlighting the fact that there are no extra lives, no respawns and no second chances to get it right with safety on the roads. Visit itsnotagameillinois.com for more information.