Spring is officially in full swing; temperatures are starting to rise, flowers are beginning to bud, and people are rushing outside to enjoy the beautiful weather. However, there will also be a rise in construction projects along many highways and roadways in North and South Carolina. There is no better time to brush up on North Carolina and South Carolina’s work zone laws and safety tips to keep everyone safe on the roads.
North and South Carolina Work Zone Laws
In North Carolina, a “highway work zone” is defined as an area where construction is being performed. It must be clearly marked by signs, channeling devices, barriers, pavement markings, or work vehicles at the beginning and end to inform drivers of the existence of the zone. A person who drives at a speed greater than the speed limit set and posted in a zone must pay a penalty of $250. An additional penalty to ensure the traveling public’s safety, following an engineering review, could be imposed if specified in the signs.
The law enforcement officer issuing a citation for anyone who violates this will indicate your vehicle speed and speed limit posted in the work zone segment. Upon conviction of this violation, the clerk of court should report that your vehicle was in a work zone at the time of the violation, the vehicle speed, and the speed limit of the work zone to the Divison of Motor Vehicles.
In South Carolina, the endangerment of a highway worker, defined as a person designated to perform work in highway work zones, is an offense that could result in a fine of up to $5,000, depending on the severity. Examples of endangerment of a highway worker include driving in or around the work zone in any lane not designated for motorists or failing to obey signs intended to control the flow of traffic through the work zone.
These penalties are mandatory and cannot be waived or reduced below the minimum fine. Exceptions to this law are emergencies, highway worker negligence, the avoidance of an obstacle, and the protection of the health and safety of another person.
In addition, passing is prohibited in highway work zones in South Carolina. If a driver overtakes or passes another driver where road work or construction is underway, it is considered hazardous to the highway workers. A person who violates this must be penalized with a fine of up to $100.
NC and SC Work Zone Accident Statistics in 2020
It is essential to acknowledge the destruction that disobeying highway work zone laws can cause to drivers and highway workers alike.
In 2020, there were 30 fatal work zone-related crashes and 34 total deaths, including five highway workers, in North Carolina. That same year, there were nine work zone-related crashes causing ten total fatalities in South Carolina.
With proper education and caution, we can help keep these numbers as low as possible in the future.
Tips For Driving in Work Zones
Fortunately, there are ways to prevent catastrophic work zone crashes from occurring. According to the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT), this can be achieved by:
- Staying alert and dedicating your full attention to the roadway
- Paying close attention to signs and work zone flaggers
- Watching out for road debris
- Turning on your headlights so workers and other motorists can see you
- Not tailgating
- Being patient and obeying posted speed limits
- Keeping up with the traffic flow
- Not changing lanes in a work zone
- Minimizing distractions like checking your phone
- Keeping an eye out for workers and their equipment
- Never drinking and driving
- Using alternate routes when possible to avoid traffic congestion
- Leaving early to get a head start on your drive and traveling at non-peak times toward your destination
Auto Accident Attorneys with Decades of Experience Protecting Your Rights
No matter how cautious, any driver can become involved in a car accident on the road due to the negligence of others. In these critical moments, you need a car accident attorney you can depend on. At Grimes Teich Anderson, we have been protecting drivers’ rights across the Carolinas for decades and strive to continue that legacy.
If you or a loved one were hurt or harmed in a car accident through no fault of your own, you deserve the best possible compensation to move forward. Contact us by filling out and submitting a contact form online or calling our office toll-free at 800-533-6845 for a free case evaluation today.