INDOT: Cameras soon to catch speeders in Indiana work zones
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Indiana Department of Transportation officials on Wednesday said they hope a speed camera pilot program will reverse a fast rise in work zone deaths.
A new law took effect July 1 that authorizes the department to install automated speed cameras at four work zones throughout the state. INDOT spokesperson Natalie Garrett says the agency will install the cameras sometime next year.
She says officials will pick the work zones based on metrics such as traffic flow and location. The cameras would only be active when workers are in the area.
Garrett says if a car exceeds the work zone speed limit by at least 11 mph, the cameras will take a picture of the car’s license plate. Drivers will get a written warning for the first violation, a $75 fine for a second violation, and a $150 fine for each subsequent violation.
“As of late, we’ve seen an increase in drivers speeding through work zones resulting in crashes and fatalities in work zones,” she said.
Thirty people were killed in work zones in Indiana in 2022, up from 14 in 2018. There were more than 1,400 crashes in work zones involving injuries in 2022, more than double the amount five years ago.
Garrett says work zone fatalities in Pennsylvania have dropped by 25% since a similar program began in 2018.
Indiana State Rep. Jim Pressel, a Republican from Rolling Prairie in LaPorte County, says he wrote Indiana’s law in response to those numbers.
“The more investigating I did into it, it’s really more than just the workers in the zone. It’s really the traveling motorists, as well,” he said.
The bill drew bipartisan support in the General Assembly, but also bipartisan opposition in the House. Sen. Aaron Freeman, a Republican from Indianapolis, says he has yet to see the legislature authorize a pilot program that did not become a permanent fixture.
Freeman says drivers in Indiana would be better served if the state hired more state troopers and prosecutors were more consistent about enforcing traffic convictions.
“I think this is one that the Statehouse will come to regret,” he said. “You open up cameras in this way and it’s a short distance then to have cameras at every intersection in Indiana.”
Freeman says the law also poses a problem if someone is driving a borrowed car, as it could leave the car’s owner with a violation they did not commit.
Garrett says INDOT continues to review how officials would handle that specific situation. Pressel adds that it would represent an opportunity for the car’s owner to talk to the driver about the need to slow down in work zones.
INDOT will have to present lawmakers with a report on the program’s effectiveness by July 2028.