While on the road, drivers have to accommodate a variety of situations. Everyone has come upon the dreaded construction zone while commuting. These zones are sometimes difficult to drive through and extremely frustrating. State highway work zones are defined in A.R.S. 28-652d as “…an area that is within a state highway right-of-way and that is subject to preliminary engineering work or construction, repair or maintenance work.” These work zones are a necessary evil as they result in necessary improvements to our Arizona roads.
Caution while driving through these zones is very important. There is a much harsher penalty for traffic violation in work zones. According to A.R.S. 28-710b. State highway work zone safety; civil penalty:
In a state highway work zone as defined in section 28-652 that is designated as a state highway work zone by traffic control devices indicating the beginning and end of the state highway work zone and in which workers are present, a person shall not drive a vehicle at a speed that is greater than the speed allowed by traffic control devices. If a person is found responsible for a civil traffic violation under this subsection, the person is subject to a civil penalty equal to the amount of the civil penalty for the same speeding violation committed in a state highway work zone in which workers are not present and shall pay an additional assessment equal to the amount of that civil penalty…The court and the department shall treat failure to pay the additional assessment imposed pursuant to this subsection in the same manner as failure to pay a civil penalty, including taking action against the person's driver license or permit or privilege to drive pursuant to sections 28-1601, 28-3153 and 28-3305.
Fines are doubled in work zones in effect when workers are present. Do not assume that workers are not present just because you cannot see them. There is always a chance you may accidentally strike a construction worker in these zones. It is all drivers' responsibility to always drive with care in respect to their surroundings.
To get up to date information about road closures and constructions zones visit the Arizona Department of Transportation's website www.azdot.gov prior to getting on the road.
Jay Ciulla is a Phoenix personal injury and wrongful death attorney.