As construction workers work to improve Michigan’s road conditions, they face enough workplace hazards — they certainly don’t need drivers to create new ones. That’s why a pair of Michigan reps gathered across the aisle to try to protect them.
State Representative Sara Cambensy, D-Marquette, and State Senator Wayne Schmidt, R-Traverse City, introduced legislation that would allow speed cameras to be installed in construction zones.
The proposed bipartisan bills, House Bill 5750 and Senate Bill 874, were both introduced on Tuesday, according to state legislature records.
Rob Coppersmith, executive vice president of the Michigan Infrastructure & Transportation Association, recently released a statement calling for support for the bills.
“We support this common-sense, bipartisan legislation that would ensure our construction workers are protected while they work hard to fix Michigan’s roads. Construction sites are dangerous places, especially when working on the side of highways with high-speed traffic and distracted driving. By adding automated speed cameras to construction zones, we can help protect our construction workers by strictly enforcing work zone speed limits,” said Coppersmith.
House Bill 5750 and Senate Bill 874 provide that under the proposed legislation, if a driver violates a posted speed limit of 6 miles per hour or more in a work zone while workers are present – based on a recorded image produced by an automated speed application system – all of the following conditions apply:
— For a first offense, the individual must receive a written warning using a form authorized by the state police.
— For a second offence, the individual is liable for a civil offense and must be ordered to pay a civil fine of no more than $150.
— For a third or subsequent offence, the individual is liable for a civil offense and must be ordered to pay a civil fine of no more than $300.
Coppersmith said the proposed legislation can help improve worker safety.
“In 2020, there were 4,035 work zone accidents in Michigan alone, resulting in 14 fatalities and 1,050 work zone injuries. Ensuring the safety of our road workers is a top priority for MITA. Ensuring our construction workers have safe work areas is one of the main reasons we are heavily involved in the Michigan Work Area Safety Task Force, an industry-wide effort from highway construction, MITA, and the Michigan Department of Transportation, focused on securing work areas throughout Michigan. . MITA works tirelessly to ensure that the safety of our work areas is a top priority, and this legislation is part of that effort,” Coppersmith said in the release. “Let’s put the lives and safety of our construction workers first and make sure they are protected on the job site. We look forward to working with the Legislature to ensure our construction workers have a safe day in the office fixing Michigan’s roads.
Any Michigander, anywhere, would agree — a good chunk of our roads could use some work. We applaud this legislation and remind our readers to always exercise caution when crossing construction zones. These people are just trying to do their job and they shouldn’t have to worry about getting home safely after their shift.
— The Journal of Mines, Marquette