Moseley to seek improvements to highway work zone safety in 2020 legislative session

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INDIANAPOLIS – State Rep. Chuck Moseley (D-Portage) said today he intends to make another effort to make highway construction zones safer across Indiana when the Legislature returns for its 2020 session in January.

Moseley and other members of the Interim Study Committee on Roads and Transportation today discussed the potential for legislation that would allow the Indiana State Police to establish an automated traffic control system to make highway work zones safer. After the meeting, Moseley said he again would file legislation to create a pilot program. Moseley filed similar legislation in the 2019 session (House Bill 1412), but lawmakers chose to study the matter over the interim before moving on the issue.

“The system I am proposing would enable the state police to use a camera or laser device to capture the license plates of vehicles driving at an unsafe speed through work zones,” Moseley said. “The offender then would be notified by mail of the violation and the fines and penalties. Speeding in a worksite zone is considered a Class B infraction, which could include fines of up to $1,000.

“The point of this legislation is to provide more safety in these work zones for drivers and workers on the construction site,” he continued. “The need to do something is great. According to the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT), there was a 115-percent increase in the number of work zone fatalities involving drivers and passengers between 2013 and 2018. Over the same period of time, the number of work zone crashes that resulted in injuries doubled.

Moseley noted that other states, such as Pennsylvania and Virginia, have started to explore changes to safety policies that place an emphasis on devices like cameras.

“Right now, it is not bothering drivers when they come into a work zone and find the only deterrent to be listings of potential penalties,” Moseley said. “It is a far greater deterrent to be told that a photo will be taken of their license plate if they are found to be speeding and they will be ticketed as a result. The carrot would be the notice of what could happen if they break the law, while the stick would be the penalty.

“No matter what, it is increasingly apparent that something will have to be done,” he added. “The number of road construction projects will only be growing in the years to come, and that raises the potential for more accidents and more injuries and more fatalities. We need to start working on changes in policy now.”

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