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Lawmakers try again on construction zone speed cameras bill

Construction zone-Devan Ridgway.png
Devan Ridgway/WTIU
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Drivers caught on camera going at least 11 miles per hour over the speed limit in a highway work zone would be ticketed under a proposed Senate bill.

Legislation to allow speed cameras in highway work zones faces a very uncertain future as lawmakers try once again to reduce speeding around road construction.

Drivers would be ticketed if they’re caught on camera going at least 11 miles per hour over the speed limit when workers are present.

The first violation would only be a warning. A $75 fine comes with the second ticket, and $150 for each ticket after that.

Road construction companies and workers organizations support the measure, SB 179. And its author, Sen. Jon Ford (R-Terre Haute), acknowledged he hasn’t been able to get it over the finish line in the past.

“As we continue to invest in improving our roads, this bill is becoming more and more important,” Ford said.

But concerns remain. Sen. Chris Garten’s (R-Charlestown) district includes bridges over the Ohio River that use photo traffic enforcement. And he called it an “absolute disaster.”

“Either something didn’t get sent, there was no communication and all of a sudden, somebody goes to get their license renewed or gets pulled over or whatever and they have a suspended license," Garten said. "And then it takes this big ball of yarn to unravel.”

The measure cleared its first hurdle Tuesday, passing a Senate committee. A similar bill, HB 1035, is being considered in the House, while another – HB 1150 – would allow speed cameras in school zones.

Contact reporter Brandon at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.