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What You Need to Know About Driving in Kentucky Work Zones

Published on Sep 5, 2019 at 12:54 pm in Car Accidents.

Construction worker working in road

In the South, road work doesn’t just happen in the summer. Since Kentucky rarely sees snow or extreme cold, we’re able to work on our roadways almost year-round. Work zones are dangerous for workers because there usually aren’t hard barriers protecting them. This makes workers more vulnerable in the event of a car accident because there’s nothing between them and reckless drivers.

But work zones aren’t just dangerous for workers. Drivers are just as much at risk to be injured in a car accident in a work zone. Whether you’re a local or just visiting Lexington, you should know the laws and precautions to take when driving through Kentucky work zones.

Kentucky Work Zone Laws

Before driving through a work zone, you should be aware of the laws of the area. In Kentucky, fines for traffic violations are doubled in active work zones when workers are present, according to the Kentucky General Assembly House Bill 244. Prior to April 2019, speeding was the only offense specified as chargeable in a work zone. House Bill 244 amended that loophole so that all traffic violations can be charged and fined double in work zones.

Generally, work zones can only reduce the speed limit by 10 miles per hour. If they are reduced any more than that, that means a study has been conducted to show that it was necessary. No matter what, it is important to follow the posted speed limit sign, especially in a work zone.

What to Do in Work Zones

This might come as a surprise, but workers aren’t the most at danger from work zone accidents. According to the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, four out of five victims of work zone crashes are motorists. Regardless, driving carelessly in work zones causes serious wrecks and takes lives meaninglessly. To avoid collisions, here’s what you need to know about driving in Kentucky work zones:

  • Pay attention. All driving requires constant attention, but you should be even more focused while driving through a work zone. Distracted driving is the leading cause of work zone accidents, according to the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.
  • Stay in your lane. Most of the time, work zones limit traffic down to one lane. But sometimes there is more than one lane open. In that case, it is best to stay in your lane to limit the amount of accidents. Other drivers might not be as prepared for you to switch lanes, or the roads could be uneven, which makes collisions more probable.
  • Don’t speed. As stated above, it is illegal in Kentucky to speed in work zones and you could be charged double the fine for speeding. Going faster than the posted speed limit also puts you at danger of losing control of your vehicle in the construction area, which could be deadly. Always follow the posted speed limit, work zone or not, because it is there for a reason.
  • Follow all signs. Much like speeding, you should always follow all posted traffic signs. If you are alert and follow what the work signs say, you are keeping yourself and any workers safe.
  • Keep a safe distance between cars. Allow enough distance between you and a car in front of you so that you have plenty of time to stop. It’s common for traffic to suddenly slow or stop through work zones, so you want to watch other vehicles ahead of you.

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet implemented the campaign “Vested in Work Zone Safety” that advertises safety tips in work zones. These tips are pay attention, respect flaggers, and slow down. These are a more general version of the list above and are easy to remember.

The cabinet reported that deaths in work zones reduced by 75% from 2017 to 2018, but the numbers of crashes and injuries increased. By following all of these precautions, we can reduce accidents, injuries, and deaths in work zones.

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