Slow Down for Work Zone Awareness
Each year in April, National Work Zone Awareness Week is held to bring attention to motorist and worker safety in work zones. Although the event was held last week, I think this topic deserves attention year round. Many of us spend time daily in our cars or know a friend or family member who has worked on one of the many exciting projects to improve Indiana’s infrastructure.
National Work Zone Awareness Week was a great effort to make drivers more aware of the dangers of working on road construction, and how they can improve the tragic statistics simply by slowing down. For many of us, time is precious, and driving is just the means by which we cross off our to-do list. But the signs and empty construction helmets placed along heavily commuted roads and interstates last week made travelers open their eyes to the results of carelessness. It is not a surprise that both workers and drivers have been killed by reckless driving, but National Work Zone Awareness Week helped to put those circumstances in perspective for people driving by.
In order to increase safety of all Hoosiers on the roads, I supported making changes to various parts of the law dealing with transportation and motor vehicles, and correctly defined a highway work zone as “an area where highway construction, reconstruction, or maintenance is actually occurring; and notice is posted”. This definition may seem simple and obvious, but the wording written in law is important for protecting those who work in these zones.
We worked on other legislation this session to heighten safety and awareness for drivers, such as creating new sight lines at railroad crossings to be determined by geographic characteristics instead of minimum distances, while also giving the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) more flexibility in setting the appropriate sight line distance requirements. Also, the outdated language in current law was changed regarding motorized scooters to ensure the safety of operators of motor drive cycles in addition to other motorists.
As a member of the House Committee on Roads and Transportation, I was proud to support legislation this session which strengthens our transportation system by approving up to $400 million dollars for road construction projects. There is also potential to leverage additional federal road funding dollars. This legislation simultaneously improves Hoosier roads and infrastructure while creating thousands of job opportunities.
These are just a couple issues we addressed this year. For more information on these bills and others, please feel free to call my office at 317-232-9833 or visit www.in.gov/legislative.