Stiffer work zone speeding fines go into effect July 1 in Indiana

| 5/16/2007

Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels has signed a bill into law intended to promote safety in highway work zones. Meanwhile, a separate effort was killed that also sought to make the state’s roadways a little safer.

Beginning July 1, drivers caught speeding in work zones will face minimum fines of at least $300. Judges still will have discretion to charge fines up to $1,000 for speeding in work zones.

Repeat offenses within three years will result in $500 fines. Each subsequent offense within that time will result in a $1,000 fine.

The new law, previously HB1623, requires that workers must be present to enforce the minimum fines. The requirement can be waved in cases where officials determine that construction conditions call for reduced speeds at all times, The Northwest Indiana Times reported.

A separate bill has died that would have mandated a practice that is second nature to many professional drivers and other motorists.

The Senate voted 28-20 to kill a bill that would have allowed police to ticket drivers who fail to flip on their headlights when precipitation is flying. The House previously approved it.

The bill – HB1269 – would have required lights to be on whenever visibility is limited. The measure defined that as any time “when due to insufficient light or unfavorable atmospheric conditions, persons and vehicles on the highway are not clearly discernible at a distance of 500 feet ahead.”

The bill would have made it a secondary offense to drive without lights on during weather – meaning a person would have to be pulled over for another violation, such as speeding, before they could be ticketed for talking on the phone.

Violators would have faced up to $25 fines. Offenses wouldn’t have counted against driving records or insurance rates.

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor