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There’s a lot of highway construction now occurring thanks to Indiana’s fully-funded 10-year highway construction plan, Major Moves. You’ve seen our orange barrels and work zones, and probably seen our highway workers, too. They’re out on the road every day mowing medians, repairing pot holes and building new roads and bridges – making Hoosier roadways safer for you and your family.
We know highway work zones can be frustrating. We realize life is busy and time is precious. But please understand when you drive dangerously through a highway work zone you’re not just putting the lives of highway workers at risk – you’re risking your own life, and the lives of your passengers. That’s because four out of five people who die in highway work zones are either vehicle drivers or passengers. In 2012 there were 11 fatalities crashes in work zones in Indiana– including some attributed to dangerous driving, such as following too closely, driver fatigue and improper lane changes.
To ensure your safety, and that of its workers, INDOT employees and contractors work nighttime and off-peak hours, install concrete barrier walls on interstate construction projects, communicate construction information to travelers and the media, use electronic message/arrow boards, wear high visibility safety apparel and protective equipment, cleanup work zone crashes quickly and safely, and use extra police patrols in work zones.
While driving through a work zone make sure to stay alert and pay attention; speed limits are reduced, lanes may narrow, and workers may be present. Slow down and safely merge as soon as you see the signs; this will allow traffic to flow smoothly. Keep a safe distance on all sides of your vehicles. Minimize all distractions (including the three C’s: Cell phones, CD’s, and Coffee); expect construction delays, allow extra travel time, and if necessary select an alternate route.
Work Zone Safety is everyone’s responsibility. Please use caution and common sense when driving through highway work zones.
The IndianaWork Zone Safety Law was revised in July 2011 to set steeper penalties for driving infractions within highway work zones. Under this law, first time citations for speeding in a work zone result in a minimum fine of $300. The fine increases to a minimum of $500 for a second offense and $1,000 for a third offense within three years. Motorists who drive recklessly or aggressively through a work zone face fines up to $5,000. Drivers who injure or kill a highway worker may end up paying a $10,000 fine or serving up to eight years behind bars. Fines generated from the work zone law are used to fund additional police patrols in and around work zones.
Work Zone Statistics
To learn more about work zone statistics, visit workzonesafety.org.
John P. McCarty, P.E.
Senior Engineer-Work Zone Safety
Indiana Department of Transportation
8620 E. 21st St.
Indianapolis, IN 46219