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A highway work zone citation can be especially costly

On Behalf of | Jun 23, 2024 | Criminal Defense

Highway work zones can undoubtedly be an inconvenience for drivers. However, this work is necessary to keep our highways in good condition or to add lanes where more are needed to accommodate changing traffic patterns.

The men and women who do this work risk their safety and even their lives working so close to traffic. Further, these areas can be dangerous for vehicles because of random debris, torn-up roads and necessary detours. That’s why they have reduced speed limits.

How is a work zone defined, and what are you likely to encounter?

It’s important to note that North Carolina law defines a highway work zone as “the area between the first sign that informs motorists of the existence of a work zone on a highway and the last sign that informs motorists of the end of the work zone.” Of course, if you see work up ahead, it never hurts to lower your speed a bit even before you encounter that first sign.

In some cases, if a lane is closed, vehicles have to take turns stopping while traffic headed the opposite direction is allowed to pass. This is often necessary in mountainous areas of the state when repair work needs to be done after a storm or rockslide or a road has to be fortified to make it safer.

The consequences of violating the speed limits as well as signage and directions given by workers or law enforcement officers directing traffic can be costly. Here in North Carolina, for example, there’s a $250 fine for exceeding the posted speed limit in a work zone in addition to any other fines for other violations. You could also face increased insurance premiums and points on your driving record.

Should you contest a highway zone-related citation?

If you believe you wrongfully received a citation for speeding or other offense or if there were extenuating circumstances, you may be able to successfully challenge the citation. For example, maybe a speed limit sign was blocked by equipment, fell down or wasn’t present at all. Perhaps a worker or police officer directing traffic gave you confusing or contradictory directions.

Because these citations can be so costly, both to your finances and your driving record, if you believe you have grounds to contest a citation, it may be worthwhile to get a legal review of your case.