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Work zones can frustrate drivers. As soon as you see the orange signs and barrels ahead, you probably want to get through the construction area as quickly as possible — especially when you don’t see anyone working. Breaking the work zone speed limit when no workers are present can be tempting.

However, the Arizona Department of Transportation reports that about 80% of construction-area crash fatalities are drivers and passengers. Driving at the posted limit keeps you safe.

What Is the Work Zone Speed Limit When No Workers Are Present?

Work zone speed limit when no workers present

Arizona legislation defines a state highway work zone as “an area within state highway right-of-way” with “preliminary engineering work or construction, repair or maintenance work.” Workers indicate these areas with traffic control devices, including:

  • Signs
  • Signals
  • Barricades
  • Road markings

Their purpose is to mark construction zones, direct traffic flow and post speed limits. ARS 28-652 states that the director of the Department of Transportation sets “standards and specifications” for traffic control devices.

Speed Limits Meet the Work Conditions

Speed limits can depend on the road’s regular speed limit, the type of construction, how close workers are to traffic, lane restrictions and other variables. Long-term improvements along a Phoenix freeway, for example, may have a work zone with a posted speed limit of 55 miles per hour. By contrast, an urban street with a usual speed limit of 35 miles per hour can have a much lower posted limit during construction.

Speed Limits Remain When No Workers Are Present

ARS 28-710 states that a work zone speed limit when no workers are present is the same as when they are. While this may seem strange — or even unreasonable, especially when hurrying to get somewhere — drivers and pedestrians can get injured in a construction zone. The laws still apply.

Say, for example, you’re driving through Mesa in a construction zone, and the lanes are narrower. They are challenging to navigate, and you must focus on staying in your lane and watching the cars around you. Driving the speed limit gives you time to react to changing patterns.

Consider also that workers may be present even if you don’t see them. They could be operating equipment, standing behind concrete barricades or otherwise out of view.

What Are the Penalties for Speeding in a Work Zone With No Workers Present?

A policeman writes a ticket for speeding in a work zone.

Penalties apply for violating a work zone speed limit when no workers are present. They are the same as when people are actively working. A person who violates a work zone speed limit is subject to double the civil penalties of the area outside the zone.

In other words, you pay double the fines for speeding in a construction area, workers or no workers.

Questions About Work Zone Accidents? Call Sargon Law Group

If you’ve been in an accident in a construction zone or have questions about a Maricopa County work zone speed limit when no workers are present, call the Phoenix motor vehicle accident lawyers at Sargon Law Group. We provide a free consultation, so you have no obligation. Get peace of mind and talk to our knowledgeable Phoenix personal injury attorney today.