INDOT worker urging work zone awareness after accident

INDOT trailer mounted attenuator helps to reduce damage during rear-end accidents.
INDOT trailer mounted attenuator helps to reduce damage during rear-end accidents.(INDOT Northeast District)
Published: Apr. 19, 2023 at 5:16 PM EDT
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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (21Alive) - Imagine you’re only three weeks on the job and you work stresses the importance of being safe, and you do everything right, but you still end up in an accident. That’s what happened to Spencer Patterson.

In January, Patterson was driving a yellow INDOT truck on I-69 in Wells County for one of the first times in his INDOT career.

His job that day, picking up trash along the road.

“We were in the passing lane driving about 35 mph. We have all of our lights and everything on,” Patterson explained. “I was looking in a ditch and next thing I know I was jolted forward, looked in my side mirrors and saw a truck pulling off to the side of the road.”

A truck rear-ended Patterson. He says fortunately no one was hurt, but he was left in shock, saying “I know I’m safe because of the safety device we use. It protects us as much as it can, but yeah my main concern was the other driver.”

Hunter Petroviak, Public Relations Director for INDOT Northeast District, says that safety device is a trailer-mounted attenuator, which is pulled behind the department trucks.

They’re equipped with lights and signs, and are designed to absorb any impact from a rear-end collision.

“In Spencer’s case, this piece of equipment did exactly what it was supposed to do,” Petroviak says.

But sometimes, other people are not so lucky.

Petroviak says in 2022, more than 7,000 crashes happened in work zones across Indiana, resulting in 1,400 injuries and 31 deaths.

“Actually, 4 out of 5 people who die in work zone crashes are people like you and me driving through them. So, yes, it’s very important to watch for the worker, but it’s also important to watch out for yourself,” Petroviak explains.

The goal?

Everyone gets home safe.

Patterson, urging drivers to use caution, “Think of us as one of your family members out there on the road working. You would want them to come home safe everyday.”

To help plan your trip, you can always use INDOT’s Trafficwise website, The website will tell you where construction is happening so you know what to expect on the roads.