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Driving safely (and legally) in highway construction areas

On Behalf of | Feb 18, 2024 | Traffic Violations

New Jersey drivers can encounter highway work zones any time of year. In the spring or summer, we’re likely to see roads being widened or otherwise updated. When massive snow or rain hits, it’s more common to see emergency repair work being done.

Whatever the reason for the work, it can slow down drivers, force them to take a detour or otherwise make them late. That can cause people to speed and drive unsafely just when they should be slowing down and showing extra caution around the workers who are in and around the road.

New Jersey law provides strict rules for driving in any “area of highway construction or repair.” This includes reducing your speed. Those who don’t face a fine of double what it would normally be on a specific road.

Just what is included in this area?

The area of highway construction or repair” may extend beyond where you can see workers and equipment. Under the law it includes “that area between the first traffic control device or sign informing motor vehicle operators of their approaching highway construction or repair and the last traffic control device or sign indicating all restrictions are removed and normal motor vehicle operations may resume.”

Drivers need to start slowing down and maybe even preparing to stop before they have to. It’s also important to remember that there may be debris that’s spread outside the work area that can cause a collision or at least damage your (or someone else’s) vehicle if you are driving to fast to avoid it.

Can you contest the citation?

If you’ve received a citation for speeding and/or other violation like reckless driving in a highway construction or repair area, it may be possible to contest it if the area wasn’t clearly marked with a reduced speed limit or you received directions from a worker directing traffic that contradicted any signage or other messaging in the area. 

If you believe you were wrongly cited and have grounds for challenging the citation, it’s worthwhile to seek legal guidance before your payment due date gets too close. This can help you avoid costly fines, points on your driving record and higher insurance rates.