Hazardous Chicago roads have taken their toll on IDOT

On behalf of Mike Clancy

The truth is that every driver is responsible for the actions that they take. When road conditions are bad, as they certainly were this winter in Chicago, drivers need to take extra precautions. These extra precautions may include leaving extra space between your car and the car ahead or it may include driving slower than the posted speed limit.

In a personal injury case, a driver’s actions are weighed under the standard of the reasonable person under the same or similar circumstances. Would a reasonable person drive slower when the snow is falling and the roads are slick? Of course, it helps reduce the accident risk if the roads are clear, which is why the Illinois Department of Transportation has put its hand out to lawmakers.

After the abnormally wintry weather this season, IDOT workers reportedly will have had to use around 1 million tons of salt on Illinois roads. It is predicted to be a record-setting winter, blowing the previous record of 840,000 tons right out of the “frozen” water. This year, more salt will be used than the two past winters combined.

Clearing the roads of hazardous snow and ice is a public service, but it certainly isn’t free. Keeping up with the pace that Mother Nature has set this year has cost IDOT a lot of money. The agency must not only pay for the salt, but it must also pay the wages of the employees working overtime, fill the salt trucks and snow plows with gas and even hire extra temporary workers.

These costs have taken a big bite out of the agency’s budget. On Wednesday, March 6, Director of Finance Tony Small told the House Public Safety Appropriations Committee that the weather has “impacted IDOT operations tremendously.” To fix the operational situation, the agency has requested that another $47 million be added to its coffers.

Source: The Southern Illinoisan, “Illinois transportation officials seek extra $47M,” March 6, 2014

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Hazardous Chicago roads have taken their toll on IDOT