Residents and visitors who drive our California highways should be familiar with the special rules for construction zones. In California, our interstate highways are always being repaired and upgraded. Major projects like the expansion of the 405 are good examples of the enormous scale of these projects and the heightened potential for serious and even fatal crashes.
What are the special laws that apply to construction zones? California law authorizes the California Department of Transportation or its “authorized representatives” (construction contractors) to “restrict the use of and regulate the movement of traffic” for the safety of motorists and workers. Mostly, this is authority to redirect traffic and to reduce the speed limits in construction zones.
California motorists may not travel in excess of any posted speed limits within 400 feet of a highway construction area; a speed limit may be set as low as 25 miles per hour. The California Vehicle Code provides for tougher penalties and higher fines for speed violations in and around “Safety Enhancement Double Fine Zones.” State law also restricts certain types of road graders, pavers, or earth-moving equipment from using state highways except by special permit.
Common reasons for construction area traffic collisions include unsafe lane merging and speeding along stretches of road adjacent to construction zones. Driving dangers increase dramatically near any road construction project. When a crash in a construction zone leads to a personal injury claim, multiple parties can become involved: private entities, businesses, and even government agencies. In claims against the state for negligent management or maintenance in a construction zone, there are issues of governmental immunity as well as a shorter statute of limitations. The law exempts government agencies from civil liability in some instances, and any claims against them typically must be filed within 6 months of the incident.
If you’re injured in this type of traffic collision, retain an experienced personal injury attorney immediately. A good personal injury lawyer works with investigators and accident reconstruction experts who can examine the evidence to determine who may be legally responsible for compensatory damages. If you suffer a personal injury in a traffic accident in California due to the negligence of another party, you may win compensation for your medical expenditures, lost wages, and more. If you’re injured, get sound advice and legal representation right away from an experienced personal injury attorney.