LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Mark Huizenga on Tuesday reintroduced legislation to protect road workers by clarifying the legal definition of a “work zone” on Michigan roads and highways.
“Drivers in our state are often confused about when construction areas are considered active work zones — jeopardizing the safety of our road maintenance crews and leading to difficulty in enforcing these critical protections,” said Huizenga, R-Walker. “Last year, I partnered with officials from MDOT and the private sector on reform to clear up our laws and set straightforward definitions for what is legally considered a work zone. While my bill was unanimously approved by the Senate, it was never voted on by the House.
“As we get to ready to recognize National Work Zone Awareness Week next week, my bill would increase road worker safety and enforcement of the protective work zones while also providing more clarity for drivers about where a construction zone begins and ends.”
Senate Bill 252 is a reintroduction of SB 943 from 2022. It would update and clarify the current definitional limitations of a “work zone” within the Michigan Vehicle Code. The bill would ensure that situations where “work zone begins” and “end road work” signs are not available, such as utility work, can still meet the criteria of a work zone. At these sites, a work zone would start at a sign indicating its beginning and end at the last temporary traffic control device.
Huizenga said the need for the change arose from the settlement of a criminal case, in which charges against the defendant were waived due to current language not explicitly stating that one worker’s presence meets the criteria of a present work crew. Therefore, as the incident area in the case did not contain a present work crew, it did not meet the definition of an active work zone.
“To protect our road construction workers, we must close this legal loophole,” Huizenga said.
SB 252 has been referred to the Senate Transportation and Infrastructure Committee for consideration.
Video comments from Huizenga about SB 252 are available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9L0dBqPrc0s.