The North Carolina House Transportation Committee approved a bill that would spare drivers the $250 penalty for speeding through highway work zones when no construction workers are present.
The bill faced criticism from state officials who feel that it would further endanger the lives of highway construction workers, who would be most at risk.
“I find it morally wrong to jeopardize their safety as they put their lives in harm’s way to make the roads safer for us,” said Rep. Dean Arp, a Union County Republican. “The increased penalty for speeding through a work zone is an effective deterrent.”
Rep. Sarah Stevens, the bill’s sponsor, said her bill would not change the reduced speed limits posted to make drivers slow down in work zones.
“It just says if workers are not present, we should not assess a $250 penalty,” Stevens said.
Other supporters of the bill agreed with Stevens and pointed out that drivers are not slowing down in work zones where there is no construction occurring.
The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) reduces the speed limit and posts signs warning of $250 tickets for violators at only a small portion of project work sites. As of April 1, the department had 734 active work zones across the state, but only 30 where the $250 speeding penalty was applied.