DECATUR, Ind. (AP) — Relatives of a man struck and killed by tractor-trailer
while working on a northern Indiana highway say he was only two weeks away
from his wedding day.
Twenty-five-year-old Ryan Zimmerman died Wednesday after being struck by the
semi as he and co-workers were repairing concrete on U.S. 27 in the
northeastern Indiana town of Decatur.
The Fort Wayne man was working for PRIMCO, a state Department of
Zimmerman’s uncle, Drew Light, tells WANE-TV in Fort Wayne that Zimmerman’s
bachelor party was set for Saturday and that he was two weeks away from
marrying his fiance. Light says he’ll join his nephew’s friends Saturday at
a get-together to pay tribute to Zimmerman’s life.
He says Zimmerman knew of the dangers of road construction.
The warm temperatures of spring mean the unofficial start of the highway
construction season in Indiana, the Indiana State Police says.
According to the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT), there are
over $1.5 billion in new highway projects slated to begin construction
throughout the state. This will create the need for numerous construction
zones throughout Indiana. These zones will require motorists to constantly
observe and be prepared to react to ever changing road conditions.
Reckless driving in a construction zone is not only a life threatening
hazard to highway workers, the ISP says. It often proves deadly to the
motoring public. In 2010, 12 people died and 602 people were injured in work
zone crashes throughout Indiana.
In an effort to reduce deaths and injuries in work zones, the ISP have
assigned troopers to work overtime in construction zones to aggressively
enforce Indiana’s traffic laws. If motorists are stopped for a traffic
infraction in a construction zone, they should expect to be issued a
citation. Motorists should be warned that steeper fines and penalties await
drivers convicted of speeding or reckless driving in a work zone. Signs
posted in most work zones warn speeding drivers that they can face fines up
to $1,000, reckless or aggressive drivers can face fines up to $5,000, and
drivers whose reckless behavior cause injury or death to a highway worker
can face up to eight years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
The ISP urges all motorists to drive responsibly and voluntarily comply with
Indiana’s traffic laws. Some tips:
•Watch for orange “Road Construction Ahead” signs and be prepared to react
to stopped or slowing traffic. Follow all lane restrictions as posted.
•Do not tailgate and keep your brakes maintained so you can stop in time.
Most injuries and deaths in work zones are caused by rear-end collisions.
Obey the posted work zone speed limit.
•Do not cut other vehicles off or change lanes across solid white lines.
Signal all lane changes.
•Make sure all occupants in your vehicle are properly secured with a seat
belt or child safety seat. Seat belts save lives and help prevent minor
crashes from becoming major catastrophes.
•Do not engage in distracting behavior such as talking on a cell phone,
texting, changing radio stations, eating, applying makeup, or talking to
Drivers are encouraged to avoid the congested road conditions often
associated with construction zones by seeking alternate routes of travel.
Drivers can learn the locations of road construction zones before they
depart by calling INDOT’s TrafficWise at (800) 261-ROAD (7623) or on the
Internet at www.TrafficWise.IN.gov
Portable and permanent electronic message signs are also utilized to
communicate messages to the public.