Traffic fines double in work zones

On city streets, county roads and major highways, drivers will soon be seeing an expanse of orange barrels and other signs indicating road construction and maintenance projects are underway.

During the road construction season, drivers will again 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 and margin for error are reduced significantly if you speed, tailgate or don’t pay attention to rapidly changing traffic situations,” Captain Tony Burrell of the Wisconsin State Patrol Northeast Region/ Fond du Lac Post says. “In work zones, workers and equipment 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 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 will have between three and six demerit points added to your driving record,” Captain Burrell says.

“State Patrol officers are specifically assigned for traffic enforcement in work zones, and they may be supported by officers in airplanes monitoring work zones. Their mission is to protect both workers and motorists in work zones by strictly enforcing posted speed limits and other traffic laws.”

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