Work Zone Awareness Week in Indiana marks the ceremonial start to highway construction season and seeks to increase public awareness of motorist and worker safety.
In order to take care of our existing highways and bridges and aggressively build for the future, the Indiana Department of Transportation is investing more than $850 million on more than 770 construction projects scheduled to begin across the state in 2016. Positioning Indiana to remain the “Crossroads of America” means drivers will see more work zones on state highway roads and bridges.
INDOT is dedicated to continuously improving work zone safety for everyone and strives to maximize the safety and mobility of motorists and workers while maintaining as much access as possible to businesses, residents and emergency services. Drivers must also do their part to keep work zones safe for everyone.
“Don’t Be That Driver!”
Highway work zones leave no room for distractions and require attentive, cautious driving habits. This year’s national theme is “Don’t Be That Driver!” and reinforces the message that driving in and around work zones requires motorists to constantly be alert and prepared for changes – changes that a distracted driver may not notice in time to prevent a potentially fatal crash.
A driver distracted by any activity other than driving is up to four times more likely to be involved in a crash. The most frequent type of work zone crash is a rear-end collision, so abiding by work zone signs, paying constant attention to traffic ahead and maintaining a safe following distance is important to avoiding them.
Last year, 17 people were killed and more than 700 people were injured in Indiana highway work zone crashes. Nationwide, there were 669 work zone traffic-related fatalities and 116 worker fatalities in 2014 (the most recent available data), which means 82 percent of work zone fatalities are drivers and their passengers.
Indiana Work Zone Safety Law
Indiana sets steep penalties for driving infractions within highway work zones. First time citations for speeding in a work zone results in a $300 fine. The fine increases to $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 and serving up to six years behind bars. These fines are used to fund additional Indiana State Police patrols in and around work zones to promote safe driving.