The Watchdog was speeding across lawns and jumping bushes recently when he got an inquiry about the true and deepest financial implications of Missouri work zone signs.
So the Dog downshifted and dug into the matter.
Gerald Gillihan of Overland Park has wondered why a speeding motorist in a labeled work zone has to pay an additional fine even when no workers are present.
Lee’s Summit police once ticketed Gillihan at 7 a.m. on a weekday as he drove in a posted construction zone devoid of activity.
The officer told him work zones were active 24/7. Period.
“This really doesn’t make common sense,” Gillihan said.
“If it’s a work zone, it’s always a work zone,” said Beth Glover, community interaction officer for the Lee’s Summit Police Department.
But it does make a difference whether workers are present or not.
Glover referred the Dog to a Missouri law that says a first speeding violation in a designated work area is $35 if no worker is present. That’s in addition to any other fine the law specifies.
Subsequent violations cost the driver an extra $75.
But if any workers are around, brace yourself: The first speeding violation exacts an additional $250 fine, and repeat offenses cost you an extra $300.
Hazards are present in work zones with or without workers there, Glover said. Curbs might not have been poured yet, for example, and new lane closures can crop up in familiar work zones.
“The traffic pattern can change.”
The Dog’s advice? Grab a copy of “The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy)” by Simon & Garfunkel. Play it in your car from time to time, paying attention to the opening lyrics:
Slow down, you move too fast.
Your wallet’s thickness depends on it.
Do you have a problem or a question about a public issue? Write to the Watchdog, The Kansas City Star, Newsroom, 1729 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, MO 64108, or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Include your name, phone number and city of residence.