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New Work Zone Safety Laws

ST PAUL, Minn. — Motorists who speed through a work zone will be fined $300 beginning Friday, Aug. 1, thanks to a new law passed during the 2014 state legislative session.

“Many work zones are in place across the state, and many workers are in those work zones improving our state’s transportation system,” said Charlie Zelle, Minnesota Department of Transportation commissioner. “This law is important because it provides added protection in areas that can be vulnerable to careless drivers.”

Motorists who do not obey work zone flaggers’ traffic directions also can be charged a $300 fine.

“Safety in the work zone is one of our top priorities,” added Sue Groth, state traffic engineer. “We hope this new increased fine will draw the attention of motorists to slow down when driving past workers.”

To bring additional attention to work zone safety, the Towards Zero Deaths effort, a multi-agency partnership that uses education, enforcement, engineering and emergency trauma response to promote safe and smart driving behavior, launched a statewide “Orange Cones, No Phones” safety campaign earlier this summer.

The Minnesota TZD partners include the departments of Health, Transportation and Public Safety. Since its launch 10 years ago, the TZD effort has helped decrease roadway fatalities by nearly half, from 655 in 2003 to 387 in 2013.

In addition to the new work zone law, other 2014 legislation requires MnDOT to study all two-lane highways during the next five years, and where appropriate, consider raising the speed limit from 55 mph to 60 mph.

“We will only increase the speed limit if it is deemed safe and reasonable,” said Groth. “Two-lane state highways are already the most dangerous roads in the state, and we want to make sure any decision we make considers all factors that affect safety.”

A report of MnDOT’s findings and recommendations is due to the Legislature every January during the five-year review period.

Speed limits that aren’t established through the Minnesota Statute are set by the MnDOT Commissioner based upon an engineering and traffic investigation. For more information about how speed limits are set visit www.mndot.gov/speed/index.html.

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