Governor Michael Pence has proclaimed April 15-19 as Work Zone Awareness Week in Indiana, marking the ceremonial start to highway construction season with the intent to bring awareness to motorist and worker safety in work zones.
This year, INDOT will invest more than $1 billion in new highway construction projects to enhance safety, mobility, and economic growth in the state to maximum both the safety and mobility of motorists and workers, all while maintaining as much access as possible to businesses, residences and emergency services.
Matt Deitchley from INDOT said the awareness week is all about encouraging people to drive safely in work zones, and there’s one specific tip that could save lives.
“We’re going to be really trying to get the word out about work zone safety. The number one rule you can always remember that is the best for everyone is for drivers – if you see a work zone, slow down. That’s the number one thing you can do to be safe for yourself and for our workers out there,” said Deitchley.
Highway workers go about their duties while thousands of vehicles drive through their workplaces at high speeds, and it is critical for everyone’s well-being to drive safely. Four out of every five deaths in highway work zones are drivers and their passengers, not highway workers. Last year, eight people were killed and more than 500 people were injured in Indiana highway work zones. The majority of these injuries and deaths are caused by rear-end collisions, following too closely or making improper lane changes.
Speeding or driving recklessly in a work zone is also dangerous. Motorists face fines of up to $1000 for speeding, up to $5000 for driving recklessly or aggressively, and up to $10,000 and/or a prison sentence of up to eight years for injuring or killing a highway worker. These fines are used to fund additional Indiana State Police work zone patrols.