Two IDOT Workers Injured in Work Zone Car Accident in Chicago

A work zone car accident in Chicago left two Illinois Department of Transportation workers and another motorist injured earlier this week. According to officials, the accident happened in a work zone on I-290. The collision occurred shortly before 11:00 a.m. on the westbound lanes of the Eisenhower Expressway just west of Route 83 near Addison, according to the Chicago Tribune.We’ve recently reported, on our Chicago Car Accident Lawyers Blog, the importance of safe driving habits around road workers and in road work zones. This is especially important in the summer months because this is typically a time when we see and increase in both road traffic and construction projects.

The motorist who allegedly caused the I-290 accident was driving his minivan when he drifted on to the should of the road. Once traveling on the shoulder, the van hit an IDOT truck that was parked on the side of the road. The minivan spun off the first truck and collided with another IDOT truck that was parked in front of the first one.

The driver of the minivan was extricated from the vehicle. He was taken by helicopter to Loyola Hospital in Maywood. He remains hospitalized in serious condition.

One of the state workers was taken to Alexian Brothers Medical Center in Elk Grove Village with non-life threatening injuries. The other worker was treated at the scene.

The accident closed all of the lanes. Police are still investigating and citations are pending against the driver of the minivan.

“Every day, law enforcement officers, firefighters, emergency response personnel, and highway workers place their lives in jeopardy to protect the citizens of the state of Illinois.” said Illinois State Police (ISP) Director Larry G. Trent.

Road construction only increases during the summer months, providing another reason for motorists to practice extra cautious driving habits on our roadways. Construction is expected to increase soon as Governor Pat Quinn recently announced a $100 million capital investment to address local transportation needs. The $100 million funding will be distributed to local officials to repair municipal, township and county infrastructure, and improve public safety, reports the Illinois Department of Transportation.

“We are extremely proud to work with our communities so they can fix their roads and bridges and address other needed projects,” Illinois Transportation Secretary Gary Hannig said. “This local component of the Governor’s capital program will not only stimulate the economy and create jobs, but improve the quality of life of residents for years to come.”

To help keep these workers safe this summer and throughout the span of this project, motorists are asked to follow these safety tips:

-Slow down. Posted speed limits in work zones are not suggestions, but the law. They are there for the safety of everyone. The Illinois State Police have a zero tolerance policy against violations in work zones. In these areas, fines are doubled.

-Pay close attention. Since traffic patterns in these areas are always changing, sometimes many times a day, it is important to stay alert. Don’t take anything for granted in work zones and expect the unexpected.

-Follow all signs. Signs, flaggers and arrowboards and not there to slow traffic, but they’re there to make it flow more safely and efficiently. Always merge as soon as possible when approaching a work zone. Don’t keep driving in the merge lane until the very last moment.

-Don’t follow too closely. Crashes are likely to occur when a motorists follows another vehicle too closely. One of the most common types of accidents in these areas are rear-end collisions. Be sure there’s at least two seconds of time between your vehicle and the one in front of you.

-Turn on your lights. Workers and motorists in these zones need to see your vehicle. Turn on your headlights in work zones.

We also discussed, on our Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, the importance of putting down your cell phone and other distractions while navigating through a work zone. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly 40 percent of on-the-job fatalities are associated with motor vehicles. Drivers are asked to put down their cell phones while navigating through our state’s work zones not only to protect your safety and the safety of our road workers, but because it’s the law in Illinois.

Throughout the United States, there were nearly 700 fatalities resulting from car accidents in road construction zones in 2009. During that year, Illinois witnessed nearly 50 fatalities in work zones as a result of motor-vehicle accidents, according to The National Work Zone Safety Information Clearinghouse.

Under the direction of Governor Quinn, the Illinois Department of Transportation has already invested approximately $7 billion to repair or rebuild 4,800 miles of roads and more than 500 bridges in the last two years. This momentum is expected to continue with more than $2.5 billion in road construction projects already scheduled for 2011.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, contact the Chicago accident lawyers at Abels & Annes for a free case evaluation. Call (312) 924-7575 and speak to an attorney today.

Additional Resources:

Workers among 3 hurt in I-290 accident, Chicago Tribune
More Blog Entries:

Illinois work accident lawyers keep taking on new clients, Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, April 27, 2011

Chicago work accidents frequently caused by distracted driving , Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, April 26, 2011

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