News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Opinion

July 8, 2014

EDITORIAL: Be safe, be responsible

Speeders still spark dangers in I-70 construction zones

TERRE HAUTE — The Independence Day weekend brought a brief respite in construction work on area roadways. In particular, it provided needed relief to the congested segment of Interstate 70 in Clay County that is undergoing resurfacing this summer.

Now that the orange barrels are again funneling traffic down to one lane and crews and equipment are back in place, it’s worth revisiting a troubling trend in these construction zones. Despite the obvious dangers restricted areas pose to everyone who travels through them, too many drivers continue to violate basic tenets of safe behavior.

Indiana State Police and Transportation officials say motorists at an alarming rate are ignoring posted speed limits and failing to observe traffic signs in general. And no one should be surprised that in some cases this is producing disastrous results.

Fortunately, no fatalities have been recorded in the Clay County I-70 construction zone, but the same cannot be said about a similar zone near Richmond on the east side of the state. A couple weeks ago, two people died and a young passenger was seriously injured in a crash precipitated by slowing traffic entering a work zone. A semi truck failed to slow down and  struck the rear of the passenger car. The result was tragic.

Although the western Indiana stretch of interstate has been spared a serious accident so far, the ingredients for tragedy have been in place. A short time before the Richmond-area crash occurred, police reported that a driver was pursued and apprehended for traveling 100 miles per hour through the Clay County zone. The driver was from the area, and police said he told them he was speeding because he was late for work in another town.

Yes, it makes you shake your head in disbelief and thankful that you, or someone close to you, were not traveling in the work zone at the time.

Police have stepped up patrols. It’s certainly commonplace to see ISP cruisers staked out along the highways, especially near the start of lane-restricted areas. Still, the problem of speeders persists.

Highway traveling will always carry a degree of risk. Work zones heighten those risks. But drivers must recognize and embrace their responsibility in making travel through construction areas as safe as possible. Law-enforcement resources are limited. Common sense should not be.

 

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