In areas farther north than Evansville, it is often said that there are only two seasons: winter and construction season.
While the climate in southern Indiana is bit more hospitable, it doesn’t change the fact that summer is the time when significant work is done on our roads, highways, and bridges. If you’re taking a family road trip this summer, the odds are slim that you won’t pass through at least one construction zone with lane closures, uneven pavement, barriers in place of shoulders, and of course, workers doing their job.
All of the foregoing and many more road conditions that are the result of construction present heightened risks for both drivers and those working on the roads.Fatalities in highway construction and maintenance work zones averaged 778 from 1994 through 1999, 1060 from 2000 through 2006, and 669 from 2007 through 2012. In Indiana, 13 people were killed and more than 300 injured in highway work zones in 2013.
In attempts to reduce these numbers, Indiana, like every other state, imposes steep penalties and fines for driving infractions in highway work zones. Drivers who injure or kill a highway worker, for example, could serve up to eight years in jail and pay $10,000 in fines.
The most common causes of construction zone accidents are speeding, tailgating, disregarding signs and signals, inattentive driving, and improper or reckless merging. The Indiana Department of Transportation has a number of tips for driving safely in work zones, including:
Slow traffic and delays due to highway construction can definitely be frustrating, but failing to adhere to common sense and posted safety rules could be tragic.
Don’t face this alone.
NEIL CHAPMAN, LAWYER