The Illinois Road and Transportation Builders Association (IRTBA) and the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) are calling on motorists to abide by work zone laws for speeding and the use of mobile devices. These organizations and the other members of the Illinois Strategic Highway Safety Plan (ISHSP) Partners are taking part in National Work Zone Awareness Week to raise awareness about hazards and the need for increasing caution in work zone areas.
IRTBA wants to remind motorists that roadside workers are fathers, mothers, sons and daughters whose hard work we benefit from daily.
The IDOT slogan for National Work Zone Safety Awareness Week is, "See orange. Slow down. Save lives!"
Illinois drivers are prohibited from talking on cell phones while traveling work zones or school zones. It is always illegal to email, text or surf the internet while driving in Illinois. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted driving contributes to 25 percent of all reported traffic crashes.
"Calling, texting, internet surfing. Distracted driving is an unfortunate addition to the lexicon and an added risk to roadway workers and traveling motorists," said Woodie Griffin, president of James D. Fiala Paving Co., Inc., and chairman of IRTBA. "It is more important than ever to get motorists to focus on the road and to understand the risks of using mobile devices while driving."
National Work Zone Safety Awareness Week coincides with the start of the construction season. IRTBA wants drivers to also be aware of speed limits in work zones and the stiff fines for violators. Court appearances are mandatory for work zone speeding.
Motorists should also know that Photo Speed Enforcement is being used when workers are present to increase safety in work zones on Illinois highways.
"We've all seen someone on the phone, or texting or engaging in other dangerous behavior while driving," said Mike Sturino, president and CEO of IRTBA. "I think people are beginning to recognize the hazards and change their behavior. We want to reinforce that trend."
IRTBA, IDOT and the ISHSP Partners are holding events throughout the state during the week to demonstrate to motorists the critical need to alter their behavior:
- On Monday, April 4, 2011 Press conferences will be held throughout the state to raise motorists' awareness and urge them to be alert and slow down in work zones. IRTBA and ISHSP Partners are planning informal media appearances in Chicago during the local network morning news shows. The participants will be outside the studios wearing green reflective vests. IRTBA, IDOT and ISHSP Partners will also distribute work zone literature to their employees.
- On Friday, April 8, 2011 Various Rest Areas throughout the state will have displays to promote and distribute work zone safety awareness information to motorists.
The Illinois Road and Transportation Builders Association, formed in 1938, is a statewide association comprised of companies that design, build and maintain the system of roads, airports, public transportation and waterways in Illinois.