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Slow Down, Move Over: Enhanced Fines in Construction Areas

When you are driving on the freeway in California and approach a stationary or stopped emergency vehicle, you must pull into the next lane whenever it is safe to do so, which means you should leave a full empty lane between you and the emergency vehicle and slow down to a prudent speed. This, of course, does not mean to slow down and watch as if it were the nightly news. More often, it is those “rubber-neckers” that get hit from behind as they slow down too much so they can see what happened. Therefore, to avoid enhanced fines in construction areas, move over, slow down, and keep moving.

Caltrans & the Repaving Project on I-5

Caltrans began a $171 million repaving project Monday, 10 July on the Golden State Freeway or I-5 in Santa Clarita Valley (SCV) from SR-14, otherwise known as Antelope Valley Freeway to just passed Lake Hughes Rd. and we would like to remind everyone to move over and slow down to keep everyone safe out there on the freeway.

What these workers are doing is very dangerous work and they and their families deserve our undivided attention while driving through their area of operation. Although most work will require lane closures most nights during the week, this work will require everyone to be more vigilant. From 9 pm in the evening until 5 am in the morning, Caltrans and the Atkinson Construction crew vowed to keep at least two lanes open to traffic, but from midnight to 4 am in some areas there may only be one lane open to get the work done more quickly and inconvenience as few travelers as possible. So, be careful and obey the law to avoid enhanced fines in construction areas.

Although they are authorized by CVC 21370 to close as many lanes as they need to and reduce speed limits to 25 mph, if necessary, in the construction area while construction workers are present, they have decided to lower the speed limit to between 45-55 to keep traffic moving and still get the project done. They are asking the public to observe the speed limit signs in the area and move over whenever possible to keep these workers safe.

Double Fines in Construction Areas

CVC 22362 makes it unlawful and a CVC violation to exceed a new (temporary) speed limit as close as 400 yards to this or any construction site when construction workers are there. Additionally, CVC 42010 gives CA traffic judges authority to double fines in what are sometimes called “Safety Enhancement Zones” for just about any violation within the work area, such as speeding, DUI, unsafe lane change, tailgating, etc.

However, to justify these double fines and protect construction workers, the public must be made aware of the presence of workers with signs and other devices. Furthermore, if there are no workers present, there is no violation of CVC 42010 as stated inSection C, “This section applies only when construction or maintenance work is actually being performed by workers, and there are work zone traffic control devices...” So, when there are no workers present or no warning devices have been emplaced, the speed limit is the same as originally posted as if there were no construction.

Move Over, Slow Down is a National Law

CA Vehicle Code (CVC) 21809, Move Over, Slow Down states, “Make a lane change into an available lane not immediately adjacent to the authorized emergency vehicle…” although this section of the CA motor vehicle code calls for a $50 fine when a driver fails to move over to the next adjacent lane when safely possible to do so and slow down when there is an emergency vehicle (stationary) present, such as a tow truck or Caltrans vehicle, the fine is just for that violation and state and county surcharge, fee, and assessments, are added to that, which will take it closer to $500.

If you are speeding in a construction area where there are construction signs posted, the fines for speeding and other violations in construction areas can be doubled. These workers have a job to do and it is up to us to let them perform their duties as safely as possible. So, remember that CA and National laws authorize enhanced fines in construction areas, slow down and move over.

Call Bigger & Harman

Don’t be a victim of a double fine when workers were not present, call Bigger & Harman, Central Valley traffic ticket defenders. Speeding fines in construction areas can easily be close to $1000 and your insurance premiums will likely rise as well. Bigger & Harman will give a FREE phone consultation to those who have questions concerning their speeding ticket in a construction area, such as, were there signs and warning devices? Were there actually men working? These are questions need to be answered.

They represent clients in Santa Clarita, Delano, Lamont, Fresno, Bakersfield, and LA, as well as many other Central Valley and SoCal traffic courts. Call today for a no obligation consultation, 661-349-9300. Or, send us an email: attorney@markbigger.com.

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