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IDOT: New Speed Radar Signs Will Save Lives

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You’ve seen those bright orange signs. Or signs with the orange ribbon that say, “Hit a worker. $10,000 fine. 14 years in jail.”

Now, there’s another sign that the Illinois Department of Transportation says will save more lives.

It’s a speed indicator board, which will tell drivers how fast they’re going and how fast they should be going in work zones.

District Six project engineer Terry Fountain says IDOT opted to mandate the radar technology after seeing it at work in 13 Metro East and southern Illinois construction zones.

“And we have seen success in people slowing down to the proper speed limit as they’re going into the work zone,” Fountain said.

The new signs will light up in all interstate highway and state expressway work zones with at least one lane closure.

“We do have some existing contracts that are currently underway that we’re going to get these added to, but you will start to see more and more of these out there on the interstate and on the expressways,” Fountain said.

IDOT says depending on the workers’ contract and the location of the construction, the mobile signs could cost anywhere from $1,000 a month to $10,000 a month.

But with an average of 7,000 work zone crashes in Illinois a year and 28 work zone related deaths just last year, some drivers say it’s worth it.

“Yeah there’s a lot of crazy drivers out there. And everybody’s in a hurry to get somewhere,” driver Deborah Carpenter said.

“It’s definitely worth it because how much is a life worth? Lost wages and the toll on the family and all that, so it’s definitely worth it,” driver Stacie Groves said.

IDOT says than 90 percent of work zone victims are drivers, not workers.

Even though the penalty for speeding or talking on a cell phone in a work zone can be more harsh if a worker is present, IDOT says reduced speed limits apply to all work zones, whether you see a worker or not.

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