An Indiana legislator is developing a measure intended to make highway construction zones safer for workers. News sources say State Rep. Jim Pressel (R-District 20) has announced plans to introduce a bill to ban cell phone use while driving unless the driver is using a hands-free device. The measure would also include automated enforcement – possibly in the form of cameras at work zones.
"If people know these exist and they could be cited for speeding in those zones, they’ll slow and pay attention," Pressel said.
The state’s latest fatality in a highway construction area occurred earlier this year in northern Hamilton County. Thirty-two-year-old Justin Nance died after a semi-truck failed to merge in a construction zone and struck a construction vehicle, which then struck Nance. Authorities said the truck driver apparently didn't see construction vehicles with arrow boards that were merging traffic. Nance was pronounced dead at the scene.
Indiana Constructors, Inc. (ICI), an industry association representing the highway, heavy and utility construction industry in the state, said there were 5,500 collisions that resulted in 15 fatalities in 2016.
In two recent projects, sections of the interstate highway that were being worked on were completely shut down, providing a safer environment for workers. The ICI said an added benefit is that projects are completed faster.
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