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Road constructions project are in full swing throughout the state, so drivers now face the challenge of safely maneuvering through work zones.
“Driving through a work zone requires patience. Work zones are dangerous under the best of circumstances, but your reaction time is reduced significantly if you speed, tailgate or don’t pay attention to rapidly changing traffic situations,” says State Patrol Captain Jeffrey J. Frenette of the Northwest Region. “In work zones, equipment and workers often are operating within a few feet of traffic. In addition, work zones frequently have narrow lanes, different merge lanes from side roads, and rough or uneven pavement. Rear-end collisions, which often are caused by speeding, following too closely, or distracted driving, are the most frequent type of crash in a work zone. Although construction workers are at a great risk of being hit, about three out of four people killed in work zone crashes are motorists.”
To prevent crashes and save lives, fines for traffic violations in work zones are double the usual amounts when workers are present. Posted work zone speed limits are still in force even when workers are not present.
“The total costs for speeding in excess of the posted limit in a work zone range from $213 for 1 to 10 mph over the limit all the way up to $893 for 45 mph or more over the limit. You also could have between three and six demerit points added to your driving record,” Captain Frenette says. “State Patrol officers are specifically assigned to many work zones, and they will strictly enforce posted speed limits and other traffic laws. We are trying to protect both workers and motorists in work zones.”