Work zone speeding fines signed into law
Tuesday, April 24, 2007 12:56 AM CDT

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INDIANAPOLIS | Drivers caught speeding in highway work zones soon will face minimum fines of at least $300 under one of several new laws signed Monday by Gov. Mitch Daniels.

Judges still will have discretion to charge fines of up to $1,000 for speeding in a work zone, but House Bill 1623 sets a $300 minimum for first-time offenders. The penalty increases to $500 for a second offense within three years, and to $1,000 for those caught speeding in a work zone for a third time in three years.

The minimum fines only can be enforced when workers are present or in cases in which officials determine that construction conditions necessitate a lower speed limit at all times. Speed limits typically are reduced by at least 10 mph in work zones or to a maximum rate of 45 mph.

The new law, effective July 1, requires crews to post signs warning drivers of the new penalties for speeding in work zones. Fines collected can be used to hire off-duty police officers to enforce speed limits in work zones.

NIRPC bill signed

Another new state law gives new financial tools to the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission.

Sponsored by state Rep. Chet Dobis, D-Merrillville, House Bill 1595 encourages Lake, LaPorte and Porter counties to pay annual NIRPC dues from income taxes or riverboat casino cash -- anything other than property taxes, which have been slow to arrive in recent years.

If a county wants to stick with property taxes, it would have to document NIRPC's levy on property tax bills, and NIRPC would be allowed to borrow to cover cash flow. The law, effective July 1, also allows the NIRPC board to continue weighted voting, which was set to expire this summer.