by Dan Voigt
As you drive along the highways in our state, signs are posted reminding drivers that fines for violations are doubled in construction zones. For a pair of local area drivers, those signs are a lesson learned the hard way.
According to Palo Alto County Sheriff Lynn Schultes, his office received two complaints at the end of this past week regarding motorists in the road construction zone on Iowa Highway Four south of Emmetsburg. In both complaints, motorists were not obeying the stop signs at the beginning of the construction zone, or were not reducing their speed to a reasonable and proper rate while traveling in the construction zone.
On Friday, June 21, sheriff's deputies issued Kathleen M. Dahl of Role a citation for Failure To Obey A Stop Sign. The fine for the violation was doubled as it occurred in a construction zone, bringing the fine amount to $335.
On Thursday, June 20, Trent M. Truelson of Mallard was issued two citation by sheriff's deputies; one for Failure to Obey a Stop Sign and the second for Failure to Reduce Speed to a Resonable and Proper Rate in a Construction Zone. The two citation charges total $670.
"Traffic violations in construction zones are very dangerous," Sheriff Schultes noted. "Many times if an accident occurs, someone is going to be seriously injured or killed. Far too often, the injured party is a construction employee that is struck without any warning. But, if the violator strikes a construction vehicle, they too could be seriously injured. For this reason, all traffic violation fines double in construction zones. The fines, no matter how high they may be, will never be enough to offset the pain of a serious injury or the death of a loved one."
According to Schultes, the best practice for all motorists to observe in a construction area is to be PATIENT, slow down when you first see the orange warning signs as you approach the construction zone, and also be prepared to stop.
"Follow and obey all signage posted in the zone and continue to drive slowly through the construction zone when instructed to do so," Schultes said. "Keep your eyes on the road ahead of you and be less concerned with all the commotion in the work area."
Schultes continued, "Let's all have a safe summer and remember 'Road workers let's give them a brake!' "