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Published on Apr 08, 2013 by Edgar Snyder

Navigating Construction Zones: Learn the Laws That Help Keep Us All Safe

hard hard hat in construction zone

Do you get nervous when you drive through construction zones? You have good reason to – in addition to avoiding the workers and their equipment, you also have to be aware of the dangerous road conditions work zones can create.

Work Zone Awareness Week starts on April 15, and on tomorrow night's episode of "No Fee TV," Attorneys Richard Rosenthal and Jason Lichtenstein will talk about the dangers that construction zones can pose as well as the laws that you as a driver must follow to help keep everyone safe. Get your questions ready and make sure to call in live from 7:30 – 8pm at 412-333-PCNC.

The official theme of the safety week is "We're All in This Together," and I'd like to take a few minutes to explain our state's laws that are in place to prevent work zone injuries. Whether you're a driver or a worker, obeying these simple laws will help protect everyone's safety.

Work Zone Safety for Posted Work Zones (When Workers Are Not Present)

  • Turn your headlights on in posted work zones. If you're driving with daytime running lights, turn on your headlights to activate the tail lights. You can get fined $25 if your headlights aren't on – this is a secondary law, which means you can be fined if you're pulled over for another traffic violation.
  • Slow down. Adhere to the speed limit. Work zones with project costs greater than $300,000 should have a speed-monitoring device that will indicate your speed entering the zone.

Work Zone Safety Laws for Active Work Zones (When Workers Are Present)

  • Active work zones must inform drivers when they are entering and exiting the zone. Drivers must be aware that they are entering a potentially dangerous environment where workers will be present. The zone must feature some sort of indicator, such as a flashing light attached to the "Active Work Zone When Flashing" sign.
  • You can lose your license for 15 days if you are caught driving 11 miles per hour or more over the posted work zone speed limit. Driving at high speeds, especially in a work zone, can be hazardous. If you are found to have been driving at an unsafe speed when involved in a construction zone accident, you will face a 15-day license suspension.
  • Fines are doubled for certain traffic violations in an active work zone. These violations include speeding, driving under the influence, and disobeying traffic laws.
  • Increased jail time. If you are convicted of causing a fatal car accident in a work zone while under the influence of alcohol and drugs, you will face up to 5 years in prison.

These laws are in place to protect everyone on the road, drivers and workers alike. I encourage you to practice safe driving habits and remember: We're All in This Together.

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