“Construction Zone” speeding laws. If you happen to be cited for speeding in a construction zone, you can be hit with an additional fine as well as being convicted of more than just a traffic offense. Georgia considers these violations to be “misdemeanors of a high and aggravated nature and shall be punished by a fine of not less than $100.00 nor more than $2,000.00 or by imprisonment for a term not to exceed 12 months, or both.”
O.C.G.A. §40-6-188 (e)(1) reads:
In order for a person to be cited or convicted for exceeding a speed limit, reduced or otherwise, in any highway work zone as provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection, there must be present in the highway work zone at the time of the offense the signage required by this Code section and either:
(A) Work zone personnel; or
(B) Barriers, on-site work vehicles, or shoulder or pavement drop offs that constitute a hazard to the traveling public.
It’s important to note that the signage requirement is quite stringent. While there is no case law on point, it would appear, from a plain reading of the statute, that failure to follow the signage requirements would make it legally impossible to sustain a conviction. That doesn’t mean the officer won’t write you the ticket. It means, the defendant would have to present evidence of the lack of adequate signage making a violation of THIS statute a factual impossibility.
The second requirement will be satisfied by the citing officer. He/she will undoubtedly note, on the citation, either that there were workers present or the presence of barriers, on-site work vehicles, or shoulder/pavement drop offs. Failure to put these facts into evidence would, once again, make conviction impossible.
So, my recommendation is, if you happen to receive a citation for this offense, take as many pictures (and maybe even videos) of the scene as you possibly can. You should begin doing so at least 600ft before the first change in speed sign. You should also attempt to measure the distance, from beginning to end (in miles) of the length of the construction zone. The sooner you do this the better…especially if the officer claims workers are present. Proving there are none/were none present AT THAT TIME, will be a burden that, sadly, shifts to you once the officer claims there were.
If you, or someone you know, has been cited for speeding in a construction zone, give me a call at 770-729-4809 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Jason Carnell