There is a lot of road construction going on in Indiana, whether it’s filling potholes on 31 or building new bus lines in Indianapolis, so much so that seeing an INDOT team on the side of the road is a common occurrence. When work zones are properly marked with the right signage and detours are made clear, this can lead to a pretty smooth traffic flow. However, there are strict rules that INDOT workers must follow when setting up safe work zones, and sometimes these practices aren’t followed. When these rules aren’t adhered to it’s pretty much asking for an accident to happen. So what is the responsibility of INDOT when it comes to making sure these sites are safe?
INDOT Work Zone Safety Rules
There are about 40,000 crashes in work zones nationally every year. Typically, if there is a fatality, it’s the driver who is killed not the worker. When road construction is taking place, the Indiana Department of Transportation must do its part to protect the safety of all construction workers as well as passing motorists. To do so, the people who set up the work zones have to follow these rules:
- All construction sites must be clearly marked with signage as well as provide instruction for traffic flow and be placed at least 7 feet high so that drivers can see them easily
- Workers should be doing maintenance and construction during off-peak hours when possible in order to decrease the chances of an accident
- All workers need to wear highly visible vests and other clothing, as well as proper safety equipment like hardhats or eye protection when applicable so they are easily seen by drivers and chances of injury are lessened
- Proper barriers between motorists and workers are also required so that work zones are distinct from the roadway
- Flaggers need to be properly trained, possess the right equipment, as well as be properly placed for maximum visibility and safety
- The length of the buffer lanes that warn the driver that a lane is going to merge needs to be appropriate for the speed limit and free of any work activity and materials as well as construction vehicles so that vehicles are not obstructed as they merge
- Changeable message signs cannot contain more than two messages and must be legible at twice the posted speed limit so that drivers have the ability to read and understand current roadway conditions
- Work zone speed limit signs on a highway must be placed before the beginning of a work zone, at the point that traffic is expected to back up to, and after every interchange within the zone so that all drivers can be made aware of the appropriate speed
These are just some of the basic rules that INDOT employees must follow while working in a construction zone. There are many others that need to be followed by the book and it’s possible that not everyone setting up a work zone is familiar with each specific guideline, which is what can lead to an accident, injury, or even death in some situations.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a work zone it’s possible that it was due to negligence and the Indiana Department of Transportation could be held responsible. The Indianapolis personal injury attorneys at Cline Farrell Christie Lee & Bell want to help you move forward in life with peace of mind. From listening to your story to fighting for you in court, we’re your advocates. Contact us today for a free consultation.