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Illinois drivers could face harsher penalties for striking road workers

For many motorists, road construction is an unavoidable headache; people don't like to be delayed and detoured. While construction is a temporary inconvenience, some drivers get so upset with it that they become aggressive, impatient and reckless. When this happens, the lives and safety of the road workers on the scene can be in jeopardy.

Sadly, this fact isn't enough to change some drivers' behaviors. They continue to speed, drive through restricted areas and get distracted by their phones in work zones, even though doing so puts themselves and others in danger.

Since the risk of an accident and possible fatality does not seem to curb unsafe driving in work zones, lawmakers are attempting to change driver behavior in another way.

Lawmakers propose increased fines for work zone violations

Recently, legislators proposed measures to increase fines for work zone violations. As noted in this report, the legislation would not only fine drivers for offenses like speeding in a work zone, but also for encroaching on or cutting through a work zone. Drivers could face a $1,000 fine for such an act.

The measure would also increase the maximum fine for striking a road worker from $10,000 to $25,000.

The message behind these efforts is that drivers need to take safe driving seriously in work zones or face the consequences.

When fines are not enough

In an ideal world, the threat of accidents and fines would be more than enough to keep drivers focused, compliant and safe in road construction areas. Unfortunately, that is not the case; countless drivers prioritize getting somewhere faster over getting somewhere safely. And too often, road workers pay the price for this decision.

In the event that a road worker is injured on the job by a negligent or reckless driver, he or she should understand that compensation could be available to them through workers' compensation benefits and personal injury claims.

While money won't undo the accident, it can be crucial to the recovery process, as it can provide a worker and his or her family with the resources to get appropriate medical care, compensate them for damages and cope with the financial toll an injury takes on their lives.

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