07/28/11 White pick-up trucks are ever present in highway work zones. Construction inspectors and foremen use them as a mobile office, supervising road work while sheltered from the dust and blistering summer sun.
The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) and the Indiana State Police (ISP) today joined forces to unveil the first pick-up truck converted for traffic enforcement in and near construction zones. Equipped with police lighting, sirens, radios and radar equipment, the white pick-ups will be operated by uniformed troopers on unmarked patrols.
“It’s not INDOT’s or ISP’s goal to catch motorists in the act of committing a violation, but to promote compliance with safe driving practices and reduce the number of crashes,” said INDOT Chief Operations Officer Troy Woodruff. “On average four out of every five people killed in highway work zones are motorists, not highway workers.”
An analysis of 2010 statistics found the top causes of work zone crashes to be following too closely, improper lane change and failure to yield the right of way. Troopers in the white pick-ups will more easily spot these violations, which carry increased fines and penalties under a new state law that took effect this month.
“We know people tend to drive different whether or not a marked police vehicle is present,” added Major Brent Johnson, the Operations Support Division Commander of the Indiana State Police. “Our expectation now is that seeing any white pick-up truck in or near a construction zone will cause all drivers to be more attentive.”
At approximately $32,000 each, INDOT is purchasing the Ram 1500 trucks specifically for ISP work zone enforcement around the state. Use of the special pick-ups is in addition to traditional marked and unmarked state police vehicles, including motorcycle patrols and unmarked Mustang police vehicles.