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Everything You Need to Know About Indiana Work Zone Laws

Updated July 30, 2020 | By Wilson Kehoe Winingham staff

Road work is a thankless but necessary job. Roadside workers are constantly repairing or rebuilding roadways to keep them safe and operational. For them to do their jobs safely, it’s necessary for there to be rules and regulations to protect them.

The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) is the Indiana body that regulates and monitors construction activity. All construction activity is scheduled and managed by INDOT according to their Interstate Highways Congestion Policy. Part of this policy involves having construction workers and other contractors work in off-peak hours when traffic is thinner.

INDOT also works to build and maintain clear work zones and to provide proper signage and information for local news outlets. All INDOT construction projects require high-visibility safety apparel and protective equipment for workers. They also work with law enforcement to station patrols in busy work zones.

What Kinds of Accidents Happen in Work Zones?

Work zone accidents often come about due to driver negligence or dangerous driving conditions. Most work zone fatalities aren’t among road workers but drivers and passengers of vehicles traveling through work zones. A lot of these accidents take place on roads with high speed limits (over 50 miles per hour) or in areas where traffic is particularly congested.

Due to the nature of construction work zones, rear-end crashes, sideswipes, head-on collisions, and collisions with debris are common types of accidents.

Who Is Responsible for Construction Worker Safety?

Everyone plays a part in keeping road workers safe. No matter how careful the workers are, they aren’t immune to accidents. Motorists have a legal responsibility to drive slower in work zones and to take extra care.

If you were injured on the job because of hazardous working conditions, you might have legal recourse—a good question for your attorney.

What Are the Penalties for Unsafe Driving in a Work Zone?

Motorists who disobey rules in work zones face steeper penalties than they would under ordinary circumstances. Speeding in a work zone as a first-time offense is punishable by a $300 fine, then up to $500 for a second-time offense, and $1,000 for a third-time offense within three years. Reckless or aggressive driving is punishable by a $5,000 fine or up to a year in jail. Drunk driving in a work zone or injuring or killing a highway worker could cost up to $10,000 and up to eight years in jail.

How Can I Avoid a Work Zone Accident?

Drivers should always be diligent and careful when they’re behind the wheel of an automobile, especially when driving through work zones.

Prevent accidents in works zones with the following tips:

  • Pay attention to the road, keep both hands on the wheel, and avoid distractions.
  • Don’t just look for road workers: Pay attention to them. Follow the directions of flaggers, and be patient and careful when driving through areas where a person is directing traffic.
  • Research alternate routes to avoid work zones altogether when possible.
  • Allow yourself extra travel time if you know you’ll be passing through a work zone. On average, it takes an extra minute to travel two miles at 45 miles than it does at 65 miles an hour.
  • Obey all construction signs, lights, and flags. Keep an eye out for changes in the speed limit, lanes, and traffic patterns. Watch for workers and signs that contain other information and warnings—including the penalties that you face for breaking the law.
  • Be a safe, defensive driver. Maintain a safe distance from the cars in front of you, and keep some space open on all sides of your car. If there are changes in speed limits, obey them. Yield to motorists that have the right of way, and only merge into lanes and onto highways as it’s safe to do so.

Contact an Automobile Accident Attorney Today

Work zone automobile accidents can get deadly. It’s important to practice due diligence in any driving situation to protect yourself, your passengers, and road workers as well as stay on the right side of the law.

If you or a loved one have been injured as a result of a car accident, you are urged to contact the attorneys of Wilson Kehoe Winingham. An Indianapolis car accident lawyer from WKW can help you get the compensation you deserve. Call 317.920.6400 or fill out an online contact form for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.

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