Tag Archives: construction zone

Driving through Indiana school zones | Indiana Work Zone and School Zone Injury Lawyers

Driving Legally in an Indiana School Zone

School zone and construction zone accidents in Indiana can be reduced when the laws for driving within the school zones are understood and obeyedThere are more than thirteen-thousand clauses in Indiana code—a plethora of laws to govern our daily lives. People generally want to obey the laws but in certain rare instances, how people go about the business of complying with motoring laws differs from one day to the next and from driver to driver.
On my way to work in the mornings, I usually drive through several school zones, each clearly marked with signs reducing the speed limits to 25 mph or less. And nearly every day drivers demonstrate their own unique interpretation of school zone laws, although the lead car in the school zone often sets the standard for group compliance.

Reduced speeds protect children from accidents caused by motorists and cyclists

It’s reported that Indiana bipartisan legislators have recognized the need to enforce our school and work zone speeds by renewing their push for installation of speed-detecting cameras that would sense and record license plates of drivers exceeding posted speeds in work or school zones. *Read House Bill 1404. Penalties for exceeding the posted reduced speed would include a $300 fine for the first violation. A repeat violation within five years could lead to a $750 fine and further offenses could be fined up to $1,000.

Senate Bill 398, filed by Senator E. Bassler would allow police to issue tickets if they have probable cause to believe a driver illegally overtook a school bus during engagement of the school bus stop arm. This bill passed committee in February, 2015. Read more here.

*Note: HB 1404 was not passed by the 2015 Indiana General Assembly.

How should you drive through a school zone?

Chapter 5 of the Bureau of Motor Vehicles driving manual has only this to say on the topic of driving through school zones:

School Zone Speed Limits

If you are driving near a school, you must slow down to the lower posted speed limit for the school zone. Common hours for school zone speed limits are 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. However, local authorities may establish lower speed limits for school zones when children are present.

Here are the facts you should know, in question & answer form, when driving through an Indiana school zone:

Where does the restricted speed of the school zone end?

The sign located at the end of the school zone indicates where you may begin acceleration of the new posted lawful speed. Acceleration should not begin prior to the sign signaling the end of the school zone or the new speed limit sign.

Is a reduction in speed required during school holidays?

Indiana Code Section 9-21-5-6 (f)(3) states:

(f) …a speed limit established under this subsection is valid only if the following conditions exist…

(3) Children are present.

City, township, private, parochial, and year-round school schedules operate on unique calendars. Unless a motorist has children attending the school within the immediate school zone or some knowledge of the school’s calendar, how should the driver proceed through the zone?

Unless you have specific knowledge the school within the zone is not in session, maintain the reduced mandated speed. Ignorance is not a defense recognized by the court. However, IC 9-21-5-6(f)(4) states:

(B) June 30, 2012, if the school operates on a twelve (12) month schedule, there must be a sign indicating that the school is an all year school.

What are the fines and/or penalties for failure to obey the laws?

At the time of this writing, exceeding the speed limit through an Indiana school zone is a Class B Infraction, a civil offense punishable with a fine up to $1,000.00.

Plaintiff personal injury lawyers helping people injured or killed in an accident

Ward & Ward Law Firm has spent more than 85 years representing people and family members who have been killed or injured in an accident caused by another driver’s negligence. Our experienced personal injury lawyers have settled and litigated a diversity of plaintiff claims involving:

  • Speed Zone Accidents
  • Motorcycle Accidents
  • Pedestrian Accidents
  • Bicycle Accidents
  • Automobile Accidents
  • Bus Accidents
  • Taxi Accidents
  • Ambulance Accidents
  • Truck and Semi Truck Accidents

Call Charlie Ward at 317-639-9501If you or someone you know has been injured or has died in an accident due to someone else’s negligence, give Charlie Ward a call at 317-639-9501 for a free evaluation of your potential legal claim.

By Charlie Ward
Ward & Ward Law Firm
728 S Meridian St
Indianapolis, IN 46225
Published 03/06/2015

Investigation Lays the Foundation for Road Construction Work Zone Accident Claim

Indiana drivers and passengers are most at risk in a road construction work zone accident

Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) statistics reveal that in 2013, 13 people were killed and more than 300 injured in INDOT work zones. Four out of five people who are killed in highway construction zones are drivers and their passengers.

Under Indiana law, motor vehicle operators who are reckless or Call Charlie Ward at 317-639-9501drive aggressively in a road construction zone may face a penalty of $5,000. Drivers who fatally injure a worker in a road construction zone can face a felony charge punishable by two to eight years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000.

Most accidents occurring in roadwork construction zones result from recklessness

INDOT states that most work zone accidents result from:

  1. Speeding
  2. Following too closely (many interviewed state police officers believe this to be the number 1 cause of highway accidents)
  3. Unsafe lane movement (cutting off other drivers and making unexpected lane changes)
  4. Driver inattention and distracted driving (eating, texting, etc)
  5. Failure to yield the right-of-way
  6. Loss of control (uneven pavement or an object in the roadway)

Your attorney lays the foundation of your work zone accident case

An attorney representing an injured party or the family of a deceased person killed in a roadwork construction zone immediately reviews the investigating officer’s official accident report and contacts witnesses for a statement while memories of the crash are fresh. There may be more than one party who bears some fault for the accident. This may or may not be determined in the initial investigative stage. Here are a few examples of questions that may be posed to the witnesses:

  1. Was the driver at fault speeding or driving erratically?
  2. Was he or she following too closely for road conditions or making movements that any reasonable person would deem unsafe?
  3. Describe the road conditions; slippery, slushy, dry?
  4. What was the condition of the pavement?
  5. Was there a foreign object in the road that may have made conditions hazardous? If so, was it an object that may have belonged to a road construction crew? Or, was it something that may have fallen from a vehicle? If so, was there a logo or an identifying name anywhere on the vehicle? Perhaps a license plate or description?

These are just a few of the preliminary questions. The attorney will comb through witness statements, read the official narratives and closely inspect police and witness photos and/or videos to determine how and why the accident occurred, who was primarily responsible and if there were additional parties that may bear some responsibility. In some instances, an accident reconstructionist may be consulted and a report delivered for evidence to be used at a later time. The initial footwork performed by your lawyer lays the foundation of the case.

An experienced attorney will join all defendants to the suit as soon as possible. In most situations there is a two-year statute of limitations to get the case filed with the court; under certain circumstances the plaintiff may only have 180 days from the date of the accident to file a Tort Claims Notice. Therefore, it’s vital that you seek legal counsel as soon as possible after a construction zone accident so the ruling statute of limitations is observed and filing procedures are properly followed.

Alcohol and illegal drugs are often contributing factors in crash fatalities

According to CDC.gov, in 2010 nearly one-third of all accident-related fatalities involved alcohol impaired driving; drugs such as marijuana and cocaine were involved in 18% of crash fatalities. Alcohol, drugs or the combination of the two affect concentration, judgment, decision making and slow the brain’s response. When people lose their inhibitions from the effects of alcohol and drugs, they become a menace on the road.

A blood test is required under the implied consent law when a person dies or there are serious injuries resulting from an accident. The plaintiffs’ attorney will want to review the blood test findings. If the responsible driver’s bloodwork reveals alcohol consumption beyond the legal limit or tests positive for a controlled substance without a doctor’s prescription, criminal charges may also be filed against the defendant driver while undergoing a civil suit.

An experienced personal injury attorney builds the case while you focus on the healing process

It is devastating for a family when an officer of the law appears at your door only to tell you that your husband, wife, son or daughter has been killed in an accident. If you know of someone who has died or sustained a head, back, neck or any other type of injury because of another driver’s negligence in a highway construction work zone, the lawyers at Ward & Ward Law Firm would be happy to discuss the case and give the claimant(s) an honest legal assessment of the potential claim.

Our attorneys prepare every case for trial

While some cases may settle before the calendar trial date, the attorneys at Ward & Ward prepare every client’s case with trial as the destination in mind. What exactly does that mean?

It means a thorough investigation is performed by the members of our legal team. It means that every “i” is dotted and every “t” is crossed in preparation for a court trial. Discovery is complete, accurate and thorough and the Rules of Civil Trial Procedure are strictly adhered to. We care about our clients and our goal is to assist everyone in putting the pieces of their lives back together. We handle the legal issues so our clients can put all of their intention to the healing process.

Our attorneys strongly believe that everyone should have access to the courts. Our firm will not be paid unless we recover for you. Call Charlie Ward today at 317-639-9501 for a free consultation.

Highway Work Zone Awareness: We don’t speed through your office.