Stiffer work zone penalties sought in Missouri

| 12/8/2005

Speeding through work zones in Missouri soon could cost drivers a lot more money.

Rep. Ed Robb, R-Columbia, has prefiled a bill intended to help keep construction workers safe.

Anyone found speeding or passing illegally in a work zone when workers are present would face a $1,000 fine. Existing state law fines violators $250.

Robb’s bill – HB1040 – has yet to be assigned to a committee. It will be considered in the legislative session that begins Jan. 4, 2006. The provision is expected to be included in a larger House bill likely to be introduced within the next couple weeks.

The larger bill also would make it illegal for drivers to pass over the double yellow line on roadways and prohibit large trucks from driving in the far left-hand lane of highways with three or more lanes in each direction.

House Transportation Chairman Neal St. Onge, R-Ellisville, said too many workers and motorists are injured in work zones.

“There seems to be a disregard for posted speed limits and cautions,” St. Onge told the Columbia Missourian.

Scott Stotlemeyer, a Missouri Department of Transportation technical support engineer, said 28 people were killed in work zones last year. He blamed careless driving for most of the accidents.