California’s Construction Zone Speed Limits

California’s Construction Zone Speed Limits

Regardless of where you’re driving, adhering to posted speed limits is crucial, both for your safety and the safety of others on the road. However, it becomes even more imperative in areas such as construction zones. California has stringent rules surrounding speeds in these areas given their high-risk nature. Construction zones are packed with people who are working near the road while traffic is moving, so these sensitive areas require extra caution.

Construction Speed Limit Laws in California

The California law on construction zone speed limits originally appears fairly simple: it states that it is a “prima facie” speeding violation if you drive faster than the posted speed limit within 400 feet from a designated construction zone or work site.

“It is prima facie a violation of the basic speed law for any person to operate a vehicle in excess of the posted speed limit upon any portion of a highway where officers or employees of the agency having jurisdiction of the same, or any contractor of the agency or his employees, are at work on the roadway or within the right-of-way so close thereto as to be endangered by passing traffic. This section applies only when appropriate signs, indicating the limits of the restricted zone, and the speed limit applicable therein, are placed by such agency within 400 feet of each end of such zone.”

What Does Prima Facie Mean?

The term “prima facie” originates from Latin and translates directly to “at first sight.” When talking about a behavior being a prima facie speeding violation, this implies that upon initial inspection or based on the facts presented at first glance, there is enough evidence to show that the law was broken. This means that speeding beyond the posted limit calls upon instant presumptions of unlawful behavior.

Slow Down Even If You Don’t See Workers  

It’s important to slow down whether you see workers present or not, as the roads surrounding construction areas can be unsafe and the construction personnel may be closer than you realize.

Various hazards can exist in a work zone aside from people – temporary traffic signs, road flares, machinery – each requiring caution. Decreased speed ensures more reaction time, allowing for necessary adjustments, even when workers aren’t in sight.

Penalties For Speeding in a Construction Zone in California

Violating construction zone speed limits in California leads to hefty fines, with exact amounts contingent upon how fast you were driving. However, in addition to fines, there could also be other consequences.

If you cause a car accident in a construction zone that injures someone or in the worst case scenario leads to a fatality, you could face civil liability, meaning you could be responsible for another person’s financial losses. Depending on the circumstances, you could also end up facing criminal charges.

Tips To Drive Safely Through Construction Zones

Driving through construction zones in California can be dangerous at times, but a few tips can ensure your journey is safe and doesn’t violate the law:

Always follow posted safety signs: Even if you don’t see any construction workers and believe you can drive safely above the speed limit, reduce your speed limit to what is posted on the sign. 

Be prepared for abrupt stops: Pay close attention to the traffic ahead, as slowdowns or stops can happen frequently in these spots.

Signal early: While it’s best not to change lanes or make any abrupt movements in a construction zone, sometimes you don’t have a choice. In this case, let other drivers know of your intended actions well in advance – whether you plan to switch lanes, take an exit, or apply the brakes. 

Be patient: Construction zones can cause delays and slowdowns that frustrate many drivers. However, it’s essential to remember that these workers are making changes for long-term safety benefits on the road. Always stay patient while traveling through construction zones. 

Understanding and adhering to California’s construction zone speed limits is pivotal for road safety. In the event of an accident or any related concerns, ensure you contact a Fresno construction accident lawyer who can guide you and determine your next steps.

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