News and HeadlinesPolitics

Actions

Worksite speed control pilot program aims to make worksites across Indiana safer

Work Zone.png
Posted at 6:35 PM, Mar 14, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-16 11:39:12-04

INDIANAPOLIS – Worksites on Indiana interstates and highways can be dangerous, not only for workers but for drivers too.

"I will stand right here today and tell you this legislation will save lives," Richard Hedgecock President of Indiana Constructors Inc. said.

Last year alone, INDOT says there were 31 deaths at worksites, and more than 7,000 crashes in work zones. According to the agency, speed was a factor in most of these cases.

That’s why Hedgecock, who represents construction workers across the state, supports house bill 1015.

The bill would allow the Indiana Department of Transportation to install up to four speed monitoring cameras statewide in a pilot program. It's something 10 other states have tried and found that overall speeds where the cameras are installed have decreased.

"We can show data in Pennsylvania of a side-by-side work zone where you have the system in place and there is a decided 12 mile an hour drops in those Pennsylvania zones," Hedgecock said.

If a person is clocked going 11 miles over the speed limit the first time, they would receive a warning via mail. A repeated incident would get drivers fined 75 dollars, after that it'd be 150 dollars for each violation. In other states where this program is in place people who received a warning had a 4 percent recidivism rate of drivers who repeat the offense.

However, before this pilot program becomes permanent INDOT will be required to show its effectiveness.

"They have been tasked with INDOT being they have to come back to the interim study committee and show us the results,” State Representative Jim Pressel, author of the bill and a Republican from LaPorte county said. “So, we are going to take traffic counts before they would deploy one of these in a zone and see what the speed is and how much the reduction in speed is, so I anticipate these being used on very large projects."

Citations would be distributed by taking a photo of the license plate of the driver in question. Those pictures would be deleted after two years unless they were needed for further prosecution. Drivers would only be ticketed if there are workers actively working in the area at the time of their violation. Plus, a driver would see signage before they enter a work zone in which a speed camera is present, giving them time to slow down.

Those in favor of the bill, including its author say this legislation’s goal is to simply slow people down.

"This gives you every opportunity in the world to slow down,” Pressel said. “Do the speed limit, protect the workers, protect yourself."

"Speed is by far the thing that kills people,” Hedgecock said. “We aren't ever going to outlaw crashes, but we can certainly stop people from dying."

If a person receives a ticket during this pilot program it will not be added to their record. The bill will also outlaw red-light cameras from being installed anywhere in Indiana.

The bill passed out of the House and a Senate committee. It now heads to the full Senate for a vote. If it passes, it goes to the Governor’s desk.