INDIANAPOLIS AND BOONE COUNTY — It is prime construction season in Central Indiana.
“We’re seeing traffic driving just way too fast,” Kenny Sexton with INDOT’s Indianapolis sub-district said. He knows Indianapolis-area roads better than most — he's been on the job with INDOT for 15 years.
“Basically, around the time of COVID, when everyone was supposed to be home [and] off the road is when we really started to see more aggressive driving and it really hasn’t slowed down much,” Sexton said.
The Assistant Manager of Operations notes speed limits, traffic patterns and closures are all done with the safety of both workers and drivers in mind.
“This is a dangerous job and people not following the law makes it more dangerous,” Sexton said.
The biggest offenders in work zones, according to INDOT, are speeding, distracted driving and tailgating.
“These yellow vests, these hard hats — you have to think of them going home to their family,” INDOT public information officer Kyleigh Cramer said.
The latest state data available is from 2020, when traffic decreased because of the pandemic and stay at home measures. In Indiana, 2020 data showed "work zone crashes peaked in July and August."
Indiana State Police Sergeant John Perrine said he is seeing increasing incidents of reckless driving in construction zones. He took us through construction on I-65 near Lebanon.
“You’d be shocked by how many people I pull over that say ‘I didn’t know I was in a work zone,’” Perrine said.
He added they are seeing not just an increase in crashes, but also in road rage incidents, especially ones involving firearms.
“Everybody makes mistakes while driving, but a mistake while driving shouldn’t be a death sentence,” Perrine said.
The parting message: slow down, move over and respect the rules of the road.
“Help us, help you,” Cramer said.
Perrine added: “We're all in this together. We want these work zones to be safe for everybody — the workers, the drivers, the first responders that are out there, so please just do your part. Increase that following distance and slow down.”