A new traffic law in Minnesota is designed to protect construction workers in work zones by giving them the power to report unsafe driving.
According to MPR News, the law allows flaggers to report unsafe drivers (and their license plate numbers) within four hours of the incident. It will then be up to law enforcement officials to judge the incident and decide if any citation is necessary. The law aims to increase awareness of people driving through work zones and lower the risk for workers in those zones.
“Work zones are incredibly dangerous. The flaggers who are the first ones in those work zones in many places are at risk,” said Minnesota governor Tim Walz. “This piece of legislation, just to let people know: You come into a work zone, and you disobey what the flaggers are doing, you put people at risk. Those flaggers are now empowered to take down that driver’s license number, and you will be getting a talk-to by State Patrol.”
Just last week, a flagger in a construction zone in Maine was hit by a truck that refused to stop when ordered to do so. The man driving the truck is now facing charges of reckless conduct with a dangerous weapon. A week before that, a worker was fatally struck by a drunk driver in a work zone in northeast Indiana. In 2017 alone there were 710 fatal crashes in work zones across the country.