South Carolina lawmakers file bill to increase penalties for construction zone traffic violations

AIKEN COUNTY, S.C. (WJBF) – South Carolina lawmakers have filed a bill to increase penalties for traffic violations in construction zones.

It’s no secret South Carolina is working to get roads, across the state, in better shape. So, the road work is just beginning in the Palmetto State.

That’s why lawmakers are pushing to get House Bill 4033 passed, to better protect the lives of people working the roadways.

Endangering the lives of highway workers is an offense South Carolina lawmakers aren’t going to take lightly anymore.

“We’ve had workers killed in work zones before and we got to looking at our state laws, and our state laws apparently aren’t e

Hixon says the penalties described in the bill only apply in clearly marked construction zones.

“We’ve had several road workers, killed in work zones. We got to looking at our state laws ad our stat law are not enough to get speeders attention.” South Carolina Representative William “Bill” Hixon told WJBF NewsChannel 6.

State Representative Hixon wrote House Bill 4033.

Moving forward Hixon wants all work zone to be clearly identified with signs, first responders are now counted as highway workers and the amendment names different level penalties for reckless driving between the orange cones.

The biggest change comes from how the state can use money, it collects, from ticketing violators.

“Part of that money will go back to the South Carolina Department of Transportation and they could in-turn hire an off-duty state trooper, a county sheriff, or a city policeman or municipality in that area.” The district 83 Representative said. “They could hire those guys to sit in those zones and run those blue lights.”

In the case of the two S.C.D.O.T. workers killed on Highway 125, because the area was never set up as a work zone, this bill would not apply.

Still, the Aiken County delegation, most of who are backing House Bill 4033, recognize that South Carolina needs to be tougher on violators.

“We’ve been coming from Birmingham and it’s been stop-and-go,” said Katherine Bedingfield, who was traveling to Myrtle Beach. “It’s dangerous the way people speed during the construction. It’s scared us a couple of time. We’ve had to slam on the brakes.”

“You always should slow down, especially in speeding zones because it’s awfully dangerous.” South Carolina resident Carl Butler told WJBF NewsChannel 6.

If the bill passes, first-time speeders could be fined anywhere from $500 to $1,000 dollars, or spend 30 days in jail. In some cases both.

The current penalty is $200 dollars or 30 days in jail, or both.

Count on WJBF NewsChannel 6 to bring you the latest on this developing story. 

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