Davis Law Group's Law & Justice Scholarship Essay Contest - Michael McKee

Michael McKee is proud to have been recently accepted to Beloit College. In his Business Law and Ethics class, he’s learning Constitutional Law, the application of critical thinking, how to prepare arguments, and how to analyze real cases. He’s hoping to become a U.S. Marshal after college.

The Interstate 65 Construction Zone at Indiana 25 (175 MM)

My opening statement:  For the past four months the northbound onramp from State Road 25 has been a hazard as it goes directly into a construction zone.  Upon entering the Interstate a very short lane, approximately 100 feet, is provided and you are required to merge into traffic.  The speed limit in the construction zone is 55 miles per hour.   Daily observation of the traffic flow and the number of trucks on this section of I 65 make this onramp extremely hazardous.  Two things would make this less hazardous which is a reduction in the speed limit at least one half mile prior to the onramp and a longer merge lane.

It is the State of Indiana’s (INDOT) responsibility to provide reasonable road construction plans, to employ safety measures and mechanisms on behalf of motorists using the said roadway.  Duty of care to use signage warning oncoming traffic of merging traffic, to post reasonable speed limit in this area, use of traffic enforcement and making correction to the construction zone to reduce the possibility of auto accidents, personal injury and potential fatalities.

While the only requirement for speed reduction, by the State of Indiana, in a construction zone is by 10 miles per hour less than the posted speed limit.   No provision is made to the particular layout of the construction zone, the traffic volume within said construction zone and the presence of onramp within the construction zone.  This area has a rise in the roadway just prior to the said onramp so if a vehicle is traveling at 55 mph. and coming into the area of the onramp it will be hard for them to slow to a proper speed to allow merging traffic safe entry to the Interstate. 

Also in question is the length of the onramp merging lane which requires drivers to estimate their ability to enter the roadway safely.  Due to the short length of the merging lane the driver tends to slow down while the oncoming traffic is moving at a higher rate of speed creating the potential for rear end collisions which is the number one cause of traffic accidents on Interstates.  Reduction of speed to 45 mph. half a mile prior to this merge lane would reduce the potential for accidents significantly.  Use of law enforcement in this area would also be important to make sure the speed limit was effective.

Conclusion:  It costs nothing to post reduction in speed signage and post construction zone speed limits.  Extending the merge lane five hundred addition feet would cost nothing.  Potential costs would be increased use of law enforcement.  

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