04/18/11 The warm temperatures of spring mean the unofficial start of the highway construction season in Indiana. According to the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT), there are over $1.5 billion in new highway projects slated to begin construction throughout the state. This will create the need for numerous construction zones throughout Indiana. These zones will require motorists to constantly observe and be prepared to react to ever changing road conditions. Reckless driving in a construction zone is not only a life threatening hazard to highway workers; it often proves deadly to the motoring public. In 2010, 12 people died and 602 people were injured in work zone crashes throughout Indiana.
In an effort to reduce deaths and injuries in work zones, the Indiana State Police have assigned troopers to work overtime in construction zones to aggressively enforce Indiana’s traffic laws. If motorists are stopped for a traffic infraction in a construction zone, they should expect to be issued a citation. Motorists should be warned that steeper fines and penalties await drivers convicted of speeding or reckless driving in a work zone. Signs posted in most work zones warn speeding drivers that they can face fines up to $1,000, reckless or aggressive drivers can face fines up to $5,000, and drivers whose reckless behavior cause injury or death to a highway worker can face up to 8 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
The Indiana State Police encourage all motorists to drive responsibly and voluntarily comply with Indiana’s traffic laws. Troopers offer these tips to keep all workers and drivers in construction zones safe.
- Watch for orange “Road Construction Ahead” signs and be prepared to react to stopped or slowing traffic. Follow all lane restrictions as posted.
- Do not tailgate and keep your brakes maintained so you can stop in time. Most injuries and deaths in work zones are caused by rear-end collisions. Obey the posted work zone speed limit.
- Do not cut other vehicles off or change lanes across solid white lines. Signal all lane changes.
- Make sure all occupants in your vehicle are properly secured with a seat belt or child safety seat. Seat belts save lives and help prevent minor crashes from becoming major catastrophes.
- Do not engage in distracting behavior such as talking on a cell phone, texting, changing radio stations, eating, applying makeup, or talking to passengers.
Drivers are encouraged to avoid the congested road conditions often associated with construction zones by seeking alternate routes of travel. Drivers can learn the locations of road construction zones before they depart by calling INDOT’s TrafficWise at 1-800-261-ROAD (7623) or on the internet at www.TrafficWise.IN.gov