A recent report highlighted dangerous driving conditions along a 16-mile stretch of I-80 that passes through Minooka, Joliet, and New Lenox in Will County. Drivers should be particularly careful along this stretch of highway. Dangerous highway conditions like these can easily turn a first-time misdemeanor DUI into an aggravated felony DUI causing great bodily harm (a class 4 felony) or death (class 2 felony). A simple speeding ticket can become a reckless homicide, a class 3 felony (720 ILCS 5/9-3).
The I-80 Corridor Analysis report of January 2018 cites these specific dangers:
- Heavy truck traffic. One in five vehicles is a semi-trailer or heavy truck.
- Bridge hazards. This stretch of highway includes 39 bridges, several being narrow bridges without shoulders. One-fourth of these bridges have been labeled “structurally deficient” while nearly half are deemed “functionally obsolete.”
- Speed limit changes. Road curves and narrow bridges force speed limits down to 55 mph in one area and 45 mph in another.
- Congestion due to population growth. The population of Will County rose 35% between the last two censuses, while the total Chicago metropolitan area grew just 4%.
- Fatal crashes. This stretch of I-80 averages at least two fatal crashes per year and has higher overall crash rates than other stretches of I-80 in the Chicago metropolitan area. Whereas most crashes in other towns tend to happen at intersections, crashes near Joliet tend to happen between intersections near highway curves.
In short, the design of interstate highway I-80 between Ridge Road and US 30 is simply insufficient to handle the existing traffic, much less the projected growth in the area.
Drivers should be especially carefully around commercial vehicles, which often play a factor in I-80 crashes. For example, in August 2018, an “unknown commercial vehicle” rear-ended an SUV on I-80 near Joliet. The 42-year-old man driving the SUV lost control, hit a guardrail, and was killed.
Just a year ago, two FedEx truck drivers were killed when a third tractor-trailer crashed into them. One FedEx truck with a double trailer had broken down and was sitting on the shoulder. The second FedEx driver had brought a replacement truck tractor and was preparing to swap the tractors. The driver of the third truck was accused of driving too fast, driving on the right shoulder of the roadway, and failing to avoid a collision.
Call a Seasoned Will County Traffic Ticket Defense Attorney
A serious driving offense on your record can be very costly, driving up your insurance rates and even costing you your job if you lose your driver’s license. If you have been ticketed for a serious offense such as DUI or reckless driving in Will County, IL, a Joliet traffic ticket defense attorney can help. At the Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba, we are familiar with law enforcement practices on our local roadways. No one will work harder to get you the most favorable outcome. Contact us at 815-740-4025 for a free and confidential consultation.