[r85] Pond Report: National Work Zone Awareness Week (4/19/2012)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Start Date: 4/19/2012 Start Time: 12:00 AM
End Date: 4/19/2012

We are beginning to enter the National Work Zone Awareness week which is held on April 23-27. Considering the amount of road construction that is taking place all throughout our state it seems relevant to take some time and observe the importance of work zone safety.

According to the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) more than 1,000 people die nationally in work zones each year, equaling to be nearly three per day. Last year alone, 14 people were killed in Indiana’s highway work zones, 10 of which were motorist and not highway workers.

Our state’s highways in general are under an abundant amount of construction due to the Governor’s initiative known as Major Moves. This is the state’s 10 year fully funded highway plan that includes more than 200 new construction and 200 major preservation projects to help make dramatic improvements to Indiana roadways.

Try to keep in mind that these changes in our roadways are being done to increase safety and mobility. Construction can be frustrating, but if you come upon work zones it is crucial that you slow down and stay alert to your surroundings.

Construction is taking place throughout many places in Allen County.  New Haven, Auburn and Garrett all have projects that are set to complete by the year 2016.

National Work Zone Awareness Week works to emphasize and further the importance of safety on our roadways. INDOT offers the following suggestions while driving through a work zone: stay alert and pay attention, slow down and safely merge as soon as you see the signs, keep a safe distance on all sides of your vehicle, minimize all distractions, expect construction delays, allow extra travel time and if necessary select an alternate route.

As lawmakers, we addressed work zone areas throughout the past. We searched for better ways to keep our highway workers safe on the job and protect those navigating throughout the work zones. The Indiana Work Zone Safety law states that first time citations for speeding in a work zone will result in a minimum fine of $300. The fine will increase 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 work zone areas can face fines up to $5,000.

Hopefully Work Zone Awareness Week will urge all of us to use caution while out on the roadways, not only now but in the future as well. This is one way we can all be pro-active in protecting lives and putting work zone safety issues at the forefront. Remember following a few simple steps can make a big difference and save lives, maybe even your own.