AIKEN, S.C. (WJBF)- Wednesday, South Carolina governor Henry McMaster signed a bill into law that lawmakers hope will save lives.
“All the speeders in the work zones better watch out because the blue lights are going to be out there trying to save lives,” said South Carolina state Rep. Bill Hixon.
The Work Zone Safety law raises fines for speeding in a work zone, and 25 percent of money they get from those tickets will go back to DOT. They’ll use it to hire off-duty officers and deputies to run their blue lights in work zones and discourage speeding.
“The law plainly states one or more people has to be working for it to be a work zone, and it has to be plainly marked showing that the work zone is in force and the signs are up,” Rep. Hixon said.
As Gov. McMaster signed the bill into law, he was surrounded by DOT workers and the families of Anthony Redmond and Robert Clark. They worked for the department and were killed on the job just a few months ago in Aiken County.
“It’s bittersweet,” said Carla Rentschler, who was friends with them. “To have to take Tony and Robert’s life to get a bill that was trying to be passed five years ago…it’s bittersweet,” she said.
Rentschler’s husband, son and brother all work for SCDOT.
“Since this happened, it’s been on my mind every day,” she said.
Rentschler also says she thinks the bill could do more.
“I do think that the bill should be tougher,” she said.
One thing she suggested are portable speed bumps.
We asked state Sen. Tom Young about them.
“We’ve asked DOT to look at portable speed bumps because they’re not extremely expensive from what I can tell, and obviously they’re portable. So you can pick them up and move them,” said state Sen. Tom Young. “And SCDOT has told me today in fact that they are looking at that as an option.”
The law also makes it a crime to endanger the life of a highway worker.