MN Work Zone Fines Going Up

Updated: 07/28/2014 7:26 PM
Created: 07/28/2014 9:13 AM
By: Jenna Lohse

(ABC 6 News) -- Speeding through work zones is about to get more costly. In 2013, eight people were killed from crashes in Minnesota work zones, which prompted law makers to do something about it.

Right now, fines double as you speed through work zones, meaning the cost of a ticket really depends on your violation. But, starting August 1st, it's an automatic $300 fine.

It's frustrating as drivers to see the orange signs on so many Minnesota roads this time of year. But have you ever stopped to think what it's like for those trying to get the work done?

"Pretty crazy some days,” said MnDOT Maintenance Worker, Tracy Taylor.

Tracy Taylor has been filling cracks on highway 52 for a couple weeks now, she says it's not the work that's stressful. "Cars flying by, semis fly by so fast your hat goes flying off,” said Taylor. "I just wish people would slow done,” she said.

It's workers like Tracy, who law makers are looking out for by increasing the speeding ticket to $300 in work zones this last legislative session.

"We still have people that are texting, talking on the phone, putting on makeup, reading stuff, going through work zones at a high rate of speed,” said Lt. Dan Lewis, Minnesota State Patrol.

At a news conference Monday, we learned the fine increase is in combination with a statewide initiative called "Orange Cones, No Phones,” not only focusing no speeding, but distracted driving too.

"It's a split second that changes somebody's life forever,” said Lewis.

You don't have to tell that to Ken Decramer, he works indoors for MnDOT now because 25 years ago Ken was hospitalized after being hit from behind on a job site. "Pick-up came through the cones and hit me,” said Ken Decramer with MnDOT. "I was the lucky one, I got to come home after a few days in the hospital,” he said.

Since 2010, 31 people have died from car accidents in Minnesota work zones. There were 7,200 work-zone crashes in that span. The new law works to ensure everybody gets home safe, including those most vulnerable.

"Just trying to keep the roads safe and smooth, do the best we can do with what we got,” said Taylor.

The fine increase will go into effect this Friday. The new law covers all work zones on any Minnesota roadways - state, county and city.

Photo: MGN Online/Beason Lawfirm