Road construction zones in Texas present unique challenges to drivers, including narrow lanes, heavy equipment, slow-moving vehicles, and uneven or missing pavement. Gravel on the roadway and even various equipment present a hazard to drivers and road construction workers in Texas work zones.
Traffic fines double in construction or maintenance zones in Texas, and there are specific laws regarding moving over and slowing down that drivers should know before they wind up with a hefty speeding ticket and court costs. Let’s discuss what happens if a driver speeds in a construction zone in Texas, traffic laws that might increase your fines for speeding, and how to protect yourself and others by driving defensively.
Driving Rules and Regulations in Texas Construction Zones
The Texas Department of Transportation provides these details to drivers regarding rules and regulations when road work is in progress:1
- Temporary speed limit signs take precedence over previously posted speed limits in the area.
- Speeding tickets can be double in work zones, up to $1000 when workers are present.
- In some work zone crashes where speeding is a factor, total traffic fines may reach $2000 or more.
- Work zone speed limits are in effect until another speed limit sign is passed by the driver, even where there are no workers, barrels, or equipment in view.
- Tailgating in construction zones can also result in a traffic ticket and $200 fine.
Understanding the Texas Move Over Law
Traditionally, the Texas Move Over Law required drivers to yield to police, fire, and other emergency vehicles and has grown in recent legislative updates to include TxDOT and other maintenance workers. The most current law requires drivers to move over one lane of traffic and reduce their speed by 20 miles per hour (below the posted speed limit) when approaching emergency vehicles, law enforcement, utility service vehicle, TxDOT vehicles, or other highway construction or maintenance vehicles using visual signals or flashing lights on the shoulder or roadside.
This Move Over/Slow Down law also applies in construction zones, as long as there is a lane available to safely move into. Certainly the requirement to reduce speed to 20 mph below the temporary speed limit might come as a surprise to some drivers, and it could result in an unexpected speeding ticket.
Safe Driving Tips and Construction Zone Safety
Follow these tips for driving safely in construction and road maintenance zones in Texas and across the country:
- Obey posted construction zone speed limits, slowing down even more for stopped vehicles with flashing lights or when workers are close to your lane.
- Stay attentive and be ready to stop suddenly or maneuver quickly. Distracted driving puts everyone at risk, and it is illegal to read, write, or send a text while driving in Texas.2
- Do not tailgate and avoid unnecessary sudden braking. Rear-end collisions are common in work zones and often are the result of driver inattention.
- Allow extra time to reach your destination when road work is a factor and avoid putting safety at risk in an effort to save time.
- Stay with the flow of traffic even when speeds are below the construction zone speed limit.
Can You Get Your Texas Traffic Ticket Dismissed?
In many cases, Texas courts allow drivers to have a moving violation dismissed when they complete an approved defensive driving course. However, the law does not allow dismissal of work zone citations, so it pays to avoid speeding or other traffic violations in construction zones across the state.
You can take advantage of the approved defensive driving course and ticket dismissal for speeding in Texas, as long as it did not happen in a double fine road work zone. By taking an approved Texas Defensive Driving Course at Ticket School, you can:
- Prevent the accumulation of points on your driving record that raise insurance rates and might cause you to lose your license.
- Stay employed if you drive as part of your job and need a clean driving record.
- Improve your driving knowledge and learn skills that will help you avoid accidents and future traffic violations.
Register for an Approved Online Defensive Driving Course
Taking an online defensive driving course is a great way to expand your knowledge, qualify for insurance discounts, or have a ticket dismissed. With Ticket School’s state-approved Texas Defensive Driving Course, you can complete your educational requirements 24/7 on any device with internet access. Enroll today to protect your driving record and learn more about how to better navigate Texas roads and traffic laws.