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Facebook post drives home message of safety in work zones

BELLEVILLE, IL - A Facebook post of a driver caught speeding in Belleville is raising eyebrows and helping police spread a very important message.  Illinois State Police posted the photo of a driver going 85 in a 45 mile-an-hour work zone on eastbound Hwy. 15 near Hwy. 159.  Speeders are warned: a surprise may be coming in the mail.

“Unfortunately, troopers see those kinds of speeds a lot.  That was 85mph in a 45mph zone,” said Master Sergeant Brent Beltz of the Illinois State Police in Collinsville.  “It puts the workers at a lot of risk.  Especially we’re surprised because workers have so many warning signs.  Their speed is even shown and they still continue to disregard those.”

Before drivers enter the work zone a large flashing sign displays their speed. There are multiple signs warning that it’s a police photo enforcement zone with mandatory $375 fines for first-time offenders.

A FOX 2 camera caught someone doing 70mph in the same zone within five minutes of rolling.

The flashing sign showing the drivers’ speeds is just a warning to let drivers know the state police enforcement van may be ahead with a trooper inside monitoring multiple cameras and radars which capture a vehicle’s speed, front and back license plates, plus the driver’s face.

“It’s hard to beat that one … there’s always a trooper present who witnesses the violation.  Of course, he has to sign off that the violation occurred,” Mst. Sgt. Beltz said.

IDOT and MoDOT report the following statistics. Illinois has about a dozen work zone crashes-a-day (4500 per year);  from 2013 to 2017, 177 of those crashes were fatal with 6 highway workers killed.  In 2017, 16 people died in work zone crashes in Missouri. Thirteen MODOT workers have been killed in work zone crashes since 2000.

In Illinois, repeat offenders face a $1000 fine.  They also face a 90-day license suspension if a second offense comes within two years.  A court appearance is mandatory for all offenses.  Trooper are only ticketing the worst of the worst offenders.  They’re averaging about 10 tickets per day of enforcement in the Belleville zone … the farthest thing from a “money grab”, troopers said.

“Absolutely not.  It’s to increase the safety of the construction workers and the other motorists going through the zone as well,” said Mst. Sgt. Beltz.

There won’t be a trooper pulling you over.  The ticket will just come in the mail.