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What is “endangerment of a highway worker” in Missouri?

On Behalf of | May 9, 2024 | Traffic Offenses

Fatal highway work zone crashes reached an all-time high last year, according to the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT). Thirty-five people were killed in these crashes in our state.

These work zones can be highly dangerous because too often, drivers don’t slow down to the posted speed limit, don’t change lanes or let other drivers in if lanes merge into one or don’t realize until it’s too late that they have to stop. Those most at risk are the men and women working in and around these areas because they’re on or near the road.

Like other states, Missouri has laws that penalize drivers who don’t obey posted signs or workers giving directions and directing traffic, even if no one is injured or killed as a result. 

What actions violate the law?

One of Missouri’s laws addresses an offense called “endangerment of a highway worker.” A driver violates this law if they do one or more things like the following in a work zone:

  • Exceeds the speed limit by at least 15 miles per hour
  • Fails to stop for a flagman or obey traffic control signals
  • Intentionally “strikes or moves barrels, barriers, signs or other devices erected to control the flow of traffic” unless it’s necessary to avoid injuring someone or “avoidance of an obstacle.”
  • Passing another vehicle if it causes a highway worker to be injured or killed
  • Hitting or attempting to hit a worker “with a motor vehicle or other instrument”

A driver who violates this law can be fined up to $1,000 and get four points on their driver’s license. If someone is injured or killed, that’s considered “aggravated endangerment of a highway worker.” The potential fine increases to $5,000 if there’s an injury and $10,000 if someone dies. A driver can get 12 points on their license.

If you’re facing a criminal charge for endangering a highway worker, it’s crucial to take it seriously. Getting experienced legal guidance can help you protect your rights.