INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana is a step closer to allowing speed cameras in work zones.
The proposal has been discussed for several years, but it’s the first time it ever got a vote in the full House, which passed the bill 70-28.
Advocates say the measure would protect construction workers and drivers going through work zones.
Dennis DeMoss, a superintendent for Rieth-Riley Construction Co., testified at the Statehouse last week to encourage lawmakers to pass the bill. He lost his 24-year-old son Coty, also a construction worker, in work zone on Interstate 69 in 2014.
“He was full of life, real fun to be around, always got family together,” DeMoss said.
In the work zone, the speed limit had been reduced to 55 miles per hour. The car that hit his son was going 80 miles per hour, DeMoss added.
“If he would’ve been running 55… he still may have lived,” he said.
House Bill 1015 launches a pilot program that would allow speed cameras in four work zones across the state.
The technology would take a picture of your license plate if you’re going 11 miles per hour or more over the speed limit, and you would receive a ticket in the mail.
On the first violation, drivers receive a warning. A second offense results in a $75 fine. For additional violations, the fine jumps to $150.
“We have to do something to get people to slow down,” said State Rep. Jim Pressel (R-Rolling Prairie), who has pushed for the pilot program for several years. “And if this what it takes, I think we should take the opportunity over the next four years and take a look at are we having an impact with it.”
But a few Democrats and several Republicans voted against the idea.
“You need to have discernment,” said State Rep. Mike Speedy (R-Indianapolis). “You need to have the presence of a vehicle.”
Speedy said he agrees drivers need to slow down, but he argues stepping up police patrols is a better solution.
“We should build right in the contracts whatever’s necessary to have an off-duty law enforcement officer from any agency police the construction zones to keep the speeds down,” Speedy said.
The bill now heads to the Senate, where a very similar bill passed last year.