04/18/12 INDOT  LaPorte  District  is  sharing  some  information  concerning  Work  Zone  Safety  for  the  2012 Construction Season.

Now that construction is starting, you’ve seen the orange barrels in 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 2010 alone, 12 occurred in work zones – 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 employees, 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 highway 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 Indiana Work 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:

Highway workers are killed in Indiana work zones every year.

Four out of five people killed in work zones are motorists – not highway workers.

One in three work zone crashes is a rear-end collision.

It takes just one minute more to travel through a two-mile work zone at 45 mph than 65 mph.

Areas where traffic is entering or leaving work zones are often more dangerous because drivers are changing lanes an establishing position.