Auto accident attorneys at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm report that the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), in partnership with other safety agencies, recently unveiled a memorial to honor those who lost their lives in traffic work zones. The memorial was revealed at a news conference at the 2013 Illinois State Fair.
The memorial, the American Traffic Safety Services Association National Work Zone Memorial Wall, is meant to represent a physical tribute to the men, women and children who have died in roadway work zones. As a way to honor and remember the lost loved ones, the memorial is also meat to remind and encourage the driving public to always watch for and adhere to the posted speed limit, eliminate distractions, and share the road.
We recently reported on the Illinois Work Zone Awareness Week, in April 2013, the month construction season typically begins in Northern states. By now, all major construction projects are well underway in Illinois, and nearly 600 people have already died this year on state roadways.
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Illinois averages between 5,000 and 7,000 motor vehicle crashes in work zones each year, and an average of 20 to 30 people die on those crashes. In 2012, nearly 20 people died in work zones in the state: 10 of them drivers, three passengers, two pedestrians, two motorcyclists, and two construction workers.
The Illinois State Police Colonel stated that work zone safety signs are always – and must legally be – clearly posted, and all motorists have a responsibility to slow down, pay attention to emergency lights, and abide by all signs and warnings.
The memorial itself, established in 2002, travels to communities through the country to raise public awareness of the reality of work zone roadway dangers. It is available to anyone who interested in raising awareness of this issue, and the American Traffic Safety Services Association encourages its members to host the work zone memorial at their next event.
The Association is also currently seeking name submissions for the memorial – which lists the names of loved ones lost in work zones similar to the Vietnam Memorial in Washington D.C. If you are interested in honoring a colleague or loved one, you are encouraged to complete and submit the name on the form from this website.
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A survey by the Associated General Contractors of American found that nearly 40% of highway construction workers have had a nearby vehicle accidentally enter their work zone. An additional 50% of those have experienced this at least three times in a single construction season. The Association also found that the rate of injury for the drivers of these vehicles is actually much higher than for the workers themselves. Negligent drivers and passengers were injured in about half of all work zone auto accidents, though construction workers were injured about 18% of the time.
Regardless of whether you are a road worker or driver, everyone has an immense responsibility to behave as safely as possible in construction zones. Texas, Florida, Georgia and California report the most motor vehicle crash fatalities in work zones, each with at least 40 deaths in 2010. It is important to remember that, should a catastrophic crash like this occur, there are always legal avenues available to you, to reimburse you for any property, physical, and emotional damage.
Work zone accident attorneys at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm have decades of experience working with victims of auto accidents and their loved ones. If you or a loved one was seriously injured in a work zone accident, contact a qualified attorney as soon as possible to learn more about your legal rights and options. You may be entitled to significant compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and emotional distress.