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Senate passes Huizenga bill to clarify MDOT work zone areas

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Senate on Thursday approved Sen. Mark Huizenga’s legislation to protect road workers by clarifying the legal definition of a “work zone” on Michigan roads and highways.

“This measure is about helping increase road worker safety and enforcement of the protective work zones while also boosting clarity for drivers about where a construction zone begins and ends,” said Huizenga, R-Walker. “Drivers in Michigan 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.

“I partnered with officials from MDOT and the private sector to clear up our laws and set straightforward definitions for what is legally considered a work zone.”

Senate Bill 943 would update and clarify the current definitional limitations of a “work zone” within the Michigan Vehicle Code. It 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.

“We need to close this legal loophole to protect our road construction workers,” Huizenga said.

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