LEBANON, Ind. (WLFI) — State police and transportation agencies are urging caution among drivers in work zones as construction season ramps up.
Indiana State Police and the Indiana Department of Transportation, along with two industry experts, held a news conference Wednesday as part of Indiana Work Zone Awareness Week.
"Speed kills. Speeding is the No. 1 factor that leads to fatalities in work zones," says Richard Hedgecock, president of Indiana Constructors Inc. "Take all the other contributing factors -- alcohol, drugs, distracted, phones -- add them all up, still they do not reach the level of impact that speeding has on fatalities."
Last year, 824 people were injured and 26 people died in Indiana work zone accidents.
Sgt. John Perrine says Indiana State Police are rolling out work zone patrols and getting creative with enforcement. That includes high visibility, unmarked, aircraft and motorcycle patrols.
"We have the tragedies in the work zones year after year that we respond to and that we see the wreckage and the aftermath," he says.
"I would say it's time to write new history. I'd say it's time to make these zones as safe as we can."
The Indiana Department of Transportation has 1,300 road projects planned this year. That includes 750 bridge projects and 2,000 miles of resurfacing.
"This means construction is coming to a road or bridge near you ... we ask you to understand and be patient while we improve our state's highways," says Rick Smith, a spokesperson for Road Safe Traffic Systems.