How well do you know Illinois work zone traffic laws?

Road construction projects are popping up all over Illinois along with work zone designations.

Here are FAQ's about the laws behind all those signs:

Do workers have to be present to receive a speeding ticket in a work zone?

Workers do not have to be present for a motorist to receive a speeding ticket in a work zone.

Regulatory construction speed limit signs are erected in construction work zones lowering speed limits, i.e. from 65 mph to 55 mph or from 55 mph to 45 mph, and apply when normal conditions do not exist (narrow lanes, edge drop-offs, lane reduction, etc.) for the motorist. This could also apply when construction equipment or a temporary obstruction is within close proximity to open lanes of traffic.

This reduced speed is for the safety of the motorists and is not limited to the time when workers are present. Slower speeds give drivers more time to safely negotiate these restricted areas yet only adds seconds to the overall length of a trip. At times, when workers are close to active traffic lanes, further restrictions may be put into place lowering the speed limit to 45 mph or less. On average, over ninety percent of work zone fatalities are motorists. Obey the posted speed limit and arrive safely at your destination.

What types of signs have to be present to indicate the increased work zone fees apply and where can they be referenced?

Regulatory speed limit signs (black and white) with the posted speed as well as a sign indicating the Work Zone fine are required per legislation. The Illinois Department of Transportation and the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority have established standards and specifications based on legislation which show the type of signs required for the reduced speed limits.

Do I have to appear in court and what is the fine for speeding in a work zone?

Yes, court appearance is mandatory.

The fines for speeding in a construction or maintenance work zone are a minimum of $375 for the first offense and a minimum of $1,000 for the second offense. If the second offense is within two years of the first offense, the Secretary of State shall suspend the driver's license for a period of 90 days.

Are flashing lights required on speed limit signs in work zones?

No, flashing lights are not required.

When can a person be charged with reckless homicide for a crash in a work zone and what are the penalties?

Reckless homicide, a Class 3 Felony, is unintentionally killing an individual while performing the action recklessly in a work zone. If a reckless homicide offense occurs in a work zone it becomes a Class 2 felony with imprisonment from 3 to 14 years.

What is Scott's Law and is it still in effect?

Scott's Law is so named after a fire fighter who lost his life while responding to an accident on one of the expressways in the Chicago area. The law requires a motorist to slow down and change lanes if possible for emergency and construction and maintenance vehicles.

Do I have to appear in court and what are the fines for violating Scott's law, the Move Over Law?

A person charged with this offense must appear in court and can receive a fine for up to $10,000, have driving privileges suspended; and in cases of property damage, injury and death of another person, additional penalties can apply such as reckless homicide. If someone kills a person while violating Scott's Law they can be charged with reckless homicide which could result in imprisonment from 3 to 14 years if convicted.

When is photo speed enforcement be in use?

Photo speed enforcement by an automated traffic control system may operate only during those periods when workers are present in the construction or maintenance zone, day or night.

When workers are behind Temporary Concrete Barrier (TCB) can photo speed enforcement be used?

Yes, photo speed enforcement can be used. Photo enforcement legislation only requires workers to be present. While Temporary Concrete Barriers provide positive protection for workers, they are not impenetrable. Vehicles have hit and broken through TCB, causing injury to workers. Also, lane width restrictions may require reduced speed limits to ensure the safety of the motorists. For these reasons, photo enforcement is permitted to be used in work zones when workers are present.

Will a special sign have to be in place for photo speed enforcement to be used?

Yes. Signs indicating that speeds are photo enforced by automated traffic control systems will be clearly posted in the area where the systems may be in use.

Do I have an opportunity to slow down before the camera takes my picture?

Yes. In addition, the vans will have a speed indicator device that will be triggered by a separate radar and will communicate the vehicle's speed to the motorist. This will give the motorist one last opportunity to slow down before the camera radar is triggered. If the motorist does not slow down, the camera radar will be triggered. A photo of the driver, vehicle, and license plate will be taken. The time of day and speed will also be captured.

Do I have to appear in court and what are the fines for a violation received with photo speed enforcement?

Yes, a court appearance is mandatory.

The fines for speeding in a construction or maintenance work zone are the same when issued by any method of enforcement. There is a minimum fine of $375 for the first offense and a minimum of $1000 for the second offense. If the second offense is within two years of the first offense, the Secretary of State shall suspend the driver’s license for a period of 90 days.

What is the ticketing process for photo speeding violation?

A ticket will be processed and will be approved by the on-duty officer. Tickets will be mailed by certified mail to the registered owner, within 14 days, who will be required to appear in court.

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