From The Tribune staff reports
MONTGOMERY — The Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) and the Alabama Road Builders Association are reminding drivers of changes to a state law that will go into place on Thursday, July 1, 2021.
In order to protect the lives of road construction and maintenance workers, the fine for any moving traffic violation committed in a construction zone where workers are present will result in a $250 fine or double the regular fine, whichever amount is greater.
ALDOT will have no temporary lane closures on the interstate after noon on Friday, July 2, through Monday, July 5, at 11:59 p.m. for the safety of construction industry workers, maintenance crews and the traveling public.
The Alabama Legislature amended the construction zone law this year, as the number of injury and fatal crashes in work zones increased in 2020. Preliminary numbers for 2020, show there were 2,378 work zone crashes in Alabama, resulting in 19 fatalities and 616 injuries. These numbers include road workers and motorists.
“As underscored by the recent change to our highway laws, unsafe driving in work zones can be life-altering and sometimes life-ending,” said Allison Green, Drive Safe Alabama Coordinator with ALDOT. “It’s to everyone’s advantage to slow down and follow the rules of the road when driving through a work zone.”
With the change to the construction zone law, fines are increased for not only speeding, but for any traffic law broken while driving through the work zone when workers are present. Those violations include driving under the influence, hit and run, following the vehicle ahead too closely, changing lanes without signaling and driving around barricades, among other violations.
“The law calls them workers, some may call them employees, but it’s more important we recognize they are moms, dads, brothers, sisters, sons and daughters that need to be able to go home to their families,” said Jeff Webb with Ozark Striping Company, Inc. and current president of ARBA. “We believe this law will help bring change to driver’s unsafe driving habits.”
Work Zone Safe Driving Tips
- Drive alert. Don’t drive distracted by texting, eating or other activities that take your hands off the wheel. Look for highway workers, reduced speed limits and changes to the roadway.
- Move over. Give workers more space if the roadway allows.
- Don’t tailgate. Keep a safe distance from the vehicle ahead of you.
Safe driving tips are available on the Drive Safe Alabama Facebook page.
Motorists planning their holiday travel route can find Alabama traffic and road condition information at www.ALGOtraffic.com or by downloading the ALGO Traffic app. ALDOT asks motorists to use ALGO Traffic responsibly. Drivers should never text, tweet, or use a mobile device while operating a vehicle.