Indiana lawmakers reintroduce legislation to allow speed cameras in work zones

IN Focus: Indiana Politics

INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana lawmakers are once again considering a proposal to add speed cameras in work zones.

Senate Bill 179 and House Bill 1150 are expected to be heard in committee next week.

Last year, more than 3,300 crashes occurred in Indiana work zones, according to the Indiana Department of Transportation.

“The number of injury crashes that occur in work zones continues to creep up,” said Richard Hedgecock, president of Indiana Constructors, Inc., who has pushed for speed cameras in work zones for several years.

The technology has made an impact in other states, Hedgecock said.

“Hard braking reduces more than 80% when you have these sorts of devices in work zones,” he explained.

It’s not just about protecting workers, Hedgecock said, as most casualties in work zone crashes are members of the public.

“It’s about safety,” said State Rep. Jim Pressel (R-Rolling Prairie), the author of House Bill 1150. “It’s about slowing people down in these work zones.”

Pressel’s bill would implement the technology to ticket drivers exceeding worksite speed limits by at least 12 miles per hour when a work zone is active. It would start off as a pilot program in select areas before the cameras would be installed statewide.

Pressel introduced a similar bill last year that passed in committee but later died.

The technology would only take a picture of your license plate, Pressel explained.

“Not to where it would take a picture of you driving the vehicle, a passenger in the vehicle,” Pressel said.

Opponents still have concerns about privacy.

“There comes a point when you have to draw the line and say enough is enough on the infringements of the individual, their rights,” said State Rep. Jim Lucas (R-Seymour).

Lucas said he believes there are better ways to reduce speeding in work zones, such as increasing police patrols.

“It’s another revenue source for the state,” Lucas said of the speed cameras. “And we’ve seen that on stoplight cameras.”

Pressel argues it’s not about raising money for state government.

“The revenues in the work zone safety piece are redirected to work zone safety,” Pressel said. “It goes into a separate fund … It doesn’t go to the general fund.”

The House bill would also outlaw red-light cameras in Indiana.

Lawmakers are also considering a bill that would allow traffic cameras in school zones.

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