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What Do I Need to Know About Indiana’s Road Work Zone Laws?

Injury Attorneys | Restoring LivesTM

May 2, 2017 | Workplace Injuries |

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 these workers.

The Indiana auto accident and work injury attorneys at Wilson Kehoe Winingham see work injury lawsuits all the time. In the following article, they offer helpful tips on driving safely through construction zones and avoiding a run-in with the law.

What Requirements Does INDOT Lay Out?

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.

work zone auto accidents

 

What Kind 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 congestion is particularly high.

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: this would be a question for your Indiana personal injury 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 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.

What Can I Do to 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.

Drivers can 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.
  • 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 before 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.

WKW Auto Accident Attorneys

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 works, and also to stay on the right side of the law.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident in the state of Indiana, the auto accident injury attorneys at WKW can help. For a free consultation, call 317.820.6400 or contact us online.

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