Ind. officials push for safer roads, highways for National Work Zone Awareness Week

INDIANAPOLIS - Highway safety officials in Indiana are urging drivers to be cautious in work zones as a part of National Work Zone Awareness Week.

In 2012, more than 50 people were killed in job-related traffic crashes in Indiana, including 27-year-old Steven Overbay. He was killed along U.S. 36 in Putnam County when a driver veered past stopped vehicles and struck him.

Rick Smith with the American Traffic Safety Services Association said that it's important that drivers are aware of people working on interstates and roads.

"Those workers in work zones are somebody's father, somebody's mother, somebody's brother, somebody's sister, somebody's neighbor. They just show up to come to work and it just so happens it's out in traffic," Smith said.

Officials say that road crews aren't the only ones at risk. Drivers or their passengers are also likely to die in construction-zone crashes, as well.

Indiana Department of Transportation Commissioner Karl Browning said in 2013, 13 motorists lost their lives in Indiana work zones and more than 450 people were injured.

"The fact of the matter is that most of the deaths and many of the injuries occur to you and me," Browning said.

Indiana Department of Labor Commissioner Rick Ruble urged drivers to slow down and pay attention. 

"Put the cell phone aside or whatever else may be distracting you from your driving. Focus on your driving. Whatever you may be doing in the car is not more important than your own life. Nor is it more important than the lives of the people in the car in front of you," Ruble said.

The Indiana Department of Labor is sponsoring a "Drive Now Text Later" contest targeted to high school and college students. For more information, click here (Mobile http://bit.ly/1cqO1Fs ).

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