Whether there’s a sign or not, all Wisconsin drivers need to be conscious of the fact that they must obey the speed limit in construction zones. Otherwise, anyone ticketed for a speeding violation in a Wisconsin construction zone will automatically have their fine doubled if workers are present.
In some states, enhanced penalties in construction zones are only applicable when signs and/or workers are present. For example, in Minnesota, speeding drivers receive double the fine in construction zones only if workers are present AND signs are displayed.
So a Minnesota driver could get caught speeding through a construction zone, while workers are on duty, without receiving an enhanced penalty if there’s no sign. But in Wisconsin, it doesn’t matter if there is no sign.
Wisconsin drivers are expected to recognize that workers are on duty and ease up on the gas pedal. If they don’t, they can expect to receive a ticket that’s twice as big as usual. Furthermore, the doubling fine isn’t limited to speeding violations like it is in some states so any moving vehicle violation could yield a similar result.
But generally speaking, almost all Wisconsin work zones will have plenty of signage to let drivers know that workers are present so it will almost never become an issue. You might even see a sign that says “Fines Double in Work Zones.”
It’s also worth noting that speed limits are usually lower than usual when roads are under construction. So that 65-mph highway could easily be reduced to 55-mph or lower, meaning that you must pay attention to the signs. Work zone signage will not only tell you how fast you should be going but also let you know if/when you need to merge lanes or if there’s a flagger ahead directing traffic.
On an annual basis, the state of Wisconsin will typically see anywhere between 1,500-2,000 construction zone crashes. Regardless of whether a given year falls on the low or high end of that statistic, it’s still way too many.
Simply being alert and planning ahead can prevent all Wisconsin work zone accidents. If you know there is a construction zone on your way to work, leave earlier rather than trying to speed through it. Or you can take an alternate route and avoid construction zone hazards altogether.