New Site Pinpoints Highway Work Zones in Illinois

And beginning Jan. 1, 2010, law enforcement in the state will be able to conduct primary enforcement of a texting while driving ban, thanks to a new law.

People driving on Illinois highways can use a new online resource to locate construction zones. But beginning Jan. 1, 2010, they won't be allowed to text a warning to anyone that a zone is dead ahead, thanks to a ban on texting while driving that Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn signed Aug. 6.

Illinois Department of Transportation Secretary Gary Hannig announced the new Web site, The Construction Zone Dashboard, which offers current information on active construction contracts, including those funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The site will be updated daily. "This is one more way to offer more accessibility, accountability, and transparency within our agency," Hannig said. "The public can get important information about projects in their communities in the convenience of their own home, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, just by logging on." Users can search for contracts by location, IDOT District, or contractor and can view the location on a map. Current status and estimated completion dates of projects are provided.

The texting law signed by Quinn is a primary enforcement law, meaning law enforcement can stop a motorist for this alleged violation alone. The law will bar Illinois drivers from sending or reading texts or e-mail, except to report an accident or emergency. The Chicago Tribune reported fines assessed to violators will start at $75, and motorists will be allowed to text if traffic is stopped and their car is in park or neutral or if they pull over onto the shoulder.

The Governors Highway Safety Association posts a useful chart of current cell phone laws at www.ghsa.org/html/stateinfo/laws/cellphone_laws.html.

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