Indiana Department of Transportation Chief Operations Officer Troy Woodruff today joined Indiana Department of Labor Commissioner Lori Torres to mark the ceremonial start of road construction season with National Work Zone Awareness Week, which runs April 23-27.
Thanks to Gov. Mitch Daniels’ Major Moves program, more than $1 billion in highway projects will begin construction in Indiana this year.
Each day this week, INDOT’s regional districts will highlight important work zone safety information on their Twitter and Facebook pages, including the top regional projects expected to impact traffic. Social media users are encouraged to connect with INDOT and join the conversation.
Fourteen people were killed and nearly 500 were injured in Indiana highway work zones in 2011. Statistics show the top causes of work zone crashes are drivers following too closely or making improper lane changes. Last year, INDOT and the Indiana State Police launched a new police vehicle designed to look like the white pickups used by construction personnel. Because the vehicles blend into construction zones, the troopers driving them are twice as likely to identify Following Too Closely violations and eight times more likely to identify Failure to Signal Lane Change violations.
Nationwide, four out of every five people killed in work zones are motorists, not highway workers. Indiana has been recognized for its efforts to make work zones safer, but drivers also play an important role in protecting themselves and others. INDOT offers these driver tips:
· Stay alert! Look for reduced speed limits, narrow driving lanes and highway workers.
· Pay attention. Work zone signs will tell you what to expect ahead.
· Merge gradually. If drivers merge safely as soon as they see the signs, traffic will flow more smoothly.
· Slow down. You may encounter slowed or stopped traffic within seconds.
· Don’t tailgate. Maintain a safe distance on all sides of your vehicle.
· Minimize distractions. The three C’s – cell phones, CDs and coffee – are the primary causes of driver inattention.
· Plan ahead. Expect delays and allow extra travel time. Select an alternate route if you are running late.
The Indiana Department of Transportation urges all drivers to be aware of work zone locations, practice safe driving habits and navigate all work zones cautiously. Drivers can learn the locations of highway work zones ahead of time by visiting www.TrafficWise.in.gov or by calling 1-800-261-ROAD (7623).