Bills reintroduced to improve road work zone safety

Two Michigan bills in the state House are aiming to allow police to set up speeding cameras in road work zones.
Published: Mar. 22, 2023 at 10:34 PM EDT
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MID-MICHIGAN (WNEM) – Two Michigan bills in the state House are aiming to allow police to set up speeding cameras in road work zones.

“Everybody wants their road worker to come home for dinner. And you want him to come home alive,” said Dan Armentrout, the director of engineering for the Saginaw County Road Commission.

Two state House bills aim to do that by allowing Michigan State Police and the Department of Transportation to implement automated speeding cameras in road construction work zones.

“When you work in a construction zone, you spend time in construction zone, you see that those cars, they’re everybody’s, they want to get where they’re going and it’s just they forget about that guy who’s standing there and he’s just doing his job,” Armentrout said.

Rep. Mike Mueller said he and Rep. Will Snyder reintroduced the bills, which didn’t pass before because the legislative session ended. If passed this time, drivers would be ticketed for going 10 miles over the posted speed limit while workers are near the roadway and not protected by barriers or guardrails.

“The first infraction is a civil infraction, no points, and that goes up from there,” Mueller said.

If a driver receives a second ticket within three years, they would receive a maximum fine of $150. A third offense within the next three years would carry a maximum fine of $300. The money from the fines will go into a worker safety fund that would be managed by MDOT.

“We want to improve safety of work zones in Michigan, change the behavior of younger drivers just to make our roads safer in general,” Mueller said.

Officials say the best way for drivers to keep road crews safe is to slow down.

“You see that construction zone and there’s that one guy driving at the appropriate speed. He’s got 30 cars stacked up behind him. We appreciate that guy. We do that, that is, we need people like that,” Armentrout said.

In 2021, there were nearly 6,000 work zone crashes in Michigan. MDOT said most of those were caused by inattentive or distracted drivers and that speeding is the leading cause of fatal work zone crashes.

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