MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - On Wednesday, the first work zone death in Michigan this year occurred in Iron County.
The cause is still under investigation, but law enforcement and state transportation officials are warning about the dangers of distracted driving.
Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) reported 1,032 people died on Michigan’s roadways in 2020, up 47 from 2019. The increase in crashes and fatalities comes at a time when the department was reporting a 20-percent decrease in overall statewide traffic volumes due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Marquette County Sheriff, Greg Zyburt, warned that speeding in work zone areas can lead to hefty penalties.
“You get three points for speeding 10 over. It’s four points for speeding more than 10 but less than 15 and it’s five points for speeding more than 15 miles per hour.”
He also said to monitor the conditions that you’re driving in and consider slowing down below the speed limit if necessary.
“If you get in an accident and you say you’re going 45 that won’t matter,” Zyburt said. “You have to use what conditions are in the road way and take that into effect.”
Michigan also has a relatively new regulation in place called the move over law that doesn’t include just construction workers.
“If you see an EMS vehicle, a fire truck, a police vehicle or even a wrecker on the side of the road,” MDOT Communications Representative, Dan Weingarten said. “Michigan law now says that you have to slow down and attempt to move over one lane, if it’s safe to do so, to give them extra room to work.”
If cited for this violation, drivers receive two points on their license and face up to a $400 fine.
For killing or injuring a road worker, drivers face a $7,500 fine and up to 15 years jail time.
“Be conscientious when you’re going through these areas because these people just want to go home at the end of the day just like you do,” Zyburt said.
To find more information on work zone safety visit www.Michigan.gov/WorkZoneSafety.
Move Over Law penalties and info can be found here.