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Oswego Police Stepping Up Work Zone Patrols

Jul 02, 2015 01:04PM ● Published by Steven Jack

The speed limit in this area of the Route 71 work zone is 30 mph. (File photo)

Kendall County motorists: consider yourselves warned.

Starting Monday, July 6, Oswego Police in cooperation with the Kendall County Sheriff’s Office and the Yorkville Police Department, will begin increased patrols in the numerous construction work zones throughout the county.

According to Cathy Nevara, Oswego Police public information officer, police will crack down on speeding and the use of electronics and mobile phones in work areas.

Nevara said the cooperative effort between the three departments came about after Oswego Police Chief Jeff Burgner took notice of the numerous construction zones in the area this summer. 

Police warned that traffic violations in work zones are much higher than in non-work zones. For instance, a first offense speeding ticket is $375 and the second offense is $1,000. Work zone tickets also require a mandatory court appearance.

Motorists with questions about work zone rules of the road can reference the following Q&A provided by Oswego Police: 

Can I receive a ticket for texting or talking on my hand-held cell phone in a work zone?

Yes. Distracted driving contributes to 25 percent of all police-reported traffic crashes according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Work zones need our complete attention. When traveling through a work zone or school zone, keep your hands off your cell phone and keep everyone safe.

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

Workers do not have to be present 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 and also 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. Information regarding the

Highway Standards, including signs and other traffic control related requirements can be found at: http://www.dot.il.gov/desenv/hwyspecs.html

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 $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.

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

Flashing lights are not required. At one time flashing lights and signs indicating "When Workers are Present" were used. Consistent application of these flashing lights was difficult to manage and confusion to motorists occurred. The Governor’s Work Zone Task Force recommended removing these flashing lights and using a regulatory speed limit sign for consistency.

What laws are applicable to motorists regarding work zones and where do you find them?

These can be found in the Criminal Code and Vehicle Code for the State of Illinois. These can be found and researched on the State of Illinois websites. http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs2.asp?ChapterID=53 or http://www.ilga.gov//legislation/ilcs/ilcs2.asp?ChapterID=49

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.

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