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Why it’s crucial to obey signage around highway work zones

by | Jan 6, 2022 | Traffic Ticket Defense

Thanks to the massive Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) passed by Congress and signed into law by President Biden late last year, Georgia is set to receive $11 billion over the next five years, according to Sen. Jon Ossoff.

Of that total, over $9 billion will be spent improving the condition of roads and bridges. That means a lot of jobs for Georgians – but also a lot of road construction. 

Certainly, these improvements are necessary to keep our roads in a safe condition and expand them as traffic and population grow. However, when drivers are slowed or rerouted as a result, they more often focus on the immediate inconvenience than the big picture.

Penalties under Georgia law

Georgia, like other states, has strict laws for drivers around construction areas (“highway work zones” under Georgia law) – both for the safety of the workers and motorists. Restrictions regarding speed and other warnings must be posted on signage ahead of and around these zones.

Speed limits along highway work zones are often at least 10 mph lower than under normal conditions. They are stringently enforced, and the penalties can be significant.

A conviction for violating the speed limit in a work zone, whether it’s a reduced speed or not, “shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature and shall be punished by a fine of not less than $100.00 nor more than $2,000.00 or by imprisonment for a term not to exceed 12 months, or both,” under Georgia law.

Requirements for citing a driver in a work zone

To be cited for speeding in a highway work zone, however, several things must apply, the signage designated by the law must be in place and in the proper locations (for example, far enough ahead to provide adequate time to slow down). Further, one or both of the following must be present:

  • Work zone personnel
  • Barriers, hazardous drop-offs or work vehicles

If you can show that the criteria weren’t met for enforcing a speed limit, you may be able to successfully fight a citation for speeding in a work zone. 

These and many other types of traffic citations can have an effect not just on your bank account but on your driver’s license privileges and potentially your freedom. Those are important factors to consider if you’ve been cited for a serious traffic violation