Minnesota state Senator Jason Rarick (R-Pine City) this morning joined Gov. Tim Walz at a signing ceremony for Senate File 1753, a new law that will make construction zones safer for road workers and motorists. The law, which was authored by Sen. Rarick, will give peace officers the authority to issue citations if a driving violation is reported by a work zone flagger.
“Road construction presents many hazards for workers and motorists,” said Sen. Rarick. “Our number one objective must be keeping people safe, but right now police officers have limited power to go after people who jeopardize that safety. We already grant bus drivers the authority to report violations surrounding school buses; granting that same authority to work zone flaggers will keep everyone safer in these dangerous areas.”
Improving the safety for road workers and flaggers is an ongoing going mission for departments of transportation across the country. Work zone obstacles like traffic pattern changes, skinnier lanes, limited visibility, and narrow rights of way can often result in crashes, injuries, or fatalities. According to the Federal Highway Administration, in 2017 there were 799 work zone fatalities nationwide, 132 of which involved workers.
Under Sen. Rarick’s bill, a peace officer will be able to issue a citation to a driver within 4 hours of the incident if a qualified work zone flagger reports a violation, including a description of the vehicle and time of the incident.
The Senate passed the bill by a vote of 64-0. The new law will be effective on August 1.