Work zone sign One of the new laws that begins today seeks to make highway work zones safer. Department of Transportation director, Nancy Richardson, says they hope an increase in work zone fines will catch driver’s attention.

Richardson says the fines are considerably higher than what people have been used to, starting at $150 and going all the way up to $1,000.

Richardson says speeding is one of the biggest problems in work zones. “If we can get people to slow down, then they are more attentive,” Richardson says. She says the margin for error is less in work zones, so if you slow down and are more aware, they hope to reduce crashes.

State figures show Iowa has average six deaths a year in work zones, and Richardson says nationally work zone fatalities have gone up. The D.O.T. is installing large reminders of the new law across the state. Richardson says part of the new law includes putting out around 250 new signs that alert people to the new law and the increased fines.

Many state, county and local roads were damaged by flooding, so the number of work zones this summer will be increased. Richardson says they have more work zones, and there will be more zones for a longer period of time, so she says the law has become even more important than when it was passed.

D.O.T. maintenance employee, Bob Hubbard of Grimes, spoke to legislators about increasing the fines. Hubbard says he has been struck four times by a moving vehicle in 18 years of working as a highway technician.

Under the new law, the penalties for speeding in a work zone are: $150  for up to 10 miles an hour over the posted speed limit; $300 for speeds from 11 through 20 mph over the posted speed limit; $500 for speeds from 21 through 25 mph over the posted speed limit, and $1,000 for speeds in excess of 26 miles per hour over the posted speed limit.

Under current law, fines for moving violations committed in a road work zone are doubled. Under the new law the fines will continue to be doubled for moving violations other than speeding.