Dear NMA Indiana Member,
The state senate’s Homeland Security & Transportation Committee voted in favor of, by a 7 to 2 count, a bill that would create a pilot program for operating speed cameras in highway work zones. SB 268 will now go to the full Senate for consideration. The Indiana House is considering a similar bill, HB 1286, that the NMA has also been tracking. The Senate committee adopted some amendments before voting on SB 286, so there may be an attempt to reconcile the two bills in the near future.
The article linked above for SB 286 has a rather telling passage:
“On the same day a former Illinois state senator pleaded guilty to bribery and tax fraud charges in connection with a red light camera enforcement program, a panel of Indiana senators endorsed a plan to bring speed camera enforcement to Hoosier State highways.”
Search for your Indiana Legislator on this Page: http://iga.in.gov/ (click the Legislators Tab in the top right hand corner)
The NMA has a number of objections about the use of photo enforcement, not the least of which is the corruption that has sprouted from the contracting of for-profit camera vendors for local traffic enforcement. The proof is unequivocal as detailed by the sordid history of law breaking related to ticket camera programs assembled by TheNewspaper.com.
If the true purpose of adding speed cameras in construction zones is to protect the workers, consider that close to 85 percent of highway construction zone fatalities are those of motorists and/or their passengers. Worker fatalities comprise the remaining 15 percent, and less than a quarter of those deaths are due to pedestrian workers being struck by highway traffic.
If meaningful construction zone safety improvements are to be made, serious attention must be paid to managing traffic flow. The doubling of fines against motorists through work zones, weaponized by using automated enforcement, is a glorified version of a roadside speed trap; the tactic is geared toward collecting ticket revenue, but does not address the real safety issues.
The prevalent traffic accident in highway construction zones is the rear-end collision, typically caused by sudden changes in the routing of vehicles and immediate reductions in speed. Lanes are narrowed, shifted and merged — often with minimal warning to drivers.
The two most important factors to traffic safety, more so than speed, are attentive drivers and smooth traffic flow. The importance of those factors is further amplified in construction zones. Drivers certainly need to have a heightened awareness of the physical changes to the routing of traffic when approaching and passing through highway work areas, and of the actions/reactions of fellow motorists. But local, state, and federal authorities involved in the construction projects must do a better job of causing as little disruption to traffic flow as possible, and of alerting drivers far in advance of pending pattern changes.
Beefing up enforcement is not going to address the issue of work zone safety. But it will generate a lot of revenue for the state.
Contact your state senators and voice your opposition to SB 268. For good measure, you can do the same with state representatives and HB 1286. We will continue to watch the progress — or hopefully the lack thereof — of both bills and will update you as developments warrant.
Thank you for your support of motorists’ rights in Indiana!