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Common Town Ordinances





Under the Transportation Emergency Ordinance of Wayne County (Wayne County. Indiana Ordinance 2003-003), various warnings and emergency declarations to restrict travel may be issued by county officials. These warnings and declarations are based upon existing or expected weather or emergency conditions effecting roadway travel on county roads and the degree of hazard present in operating a motor vehicle on county roads. These warnings and emergency declarations apply to Wayne County maintained roads in unincorporated areas. Depending upon conditions, the City of Richmond and other Wayne County towns may issue warnings or impose travel restrictions consistent with the county's Transportation Emergency Ordinance. When issued, these warnings and travel restrictions do not apply to, or restrict travel on, State or Federal roads (I-70, US 40, US 27, US 35, SR 1, SR 38 or SR 227). State and Federal roads will remain open unless closed by action of the State.

The basic purpose of the ordinance is to protect public safety. The ordinance achieves this by providing for the communications of information to the public concerning hazardous conditions motorists should be prepared to encounter and in extreme situations, restricting the use of county roadways. Other provisions in the ordinance control parking and set forth procedures for removing stalled or abandoned vehicles so roads may be kept passable for emergency vehicles.

Warnings and emergency declarations under the Transportation Emergency Ordinance are not intended to address employer or employee rights or responsibilities in reporting for work. The best policy is to discuss this issue with your employer or employees before an emergency situation occurs and to have a plan in place to appropriately and safely deal with the situation.

Key provisions of the Transportation Ordinance are explained below. If you would like more detailed information or a copy of the ordinance, call the Wayne County Emergency Management Agency at (765) 973-9399.

Level I – Travel Warning

Level I Travel Warnings are designed to inform motorists of unusually hazardous driving conditions so they can drive with extra caution. Warnings may be issued for a variety of unusual hazardous conditions which affect roadways including high water, ice or snow, trees or limbs down on roads, utility poles or power lines blocking roads, damage debris on the roads or other situations.

Level I Travel Warnings are issued jointly by the Wayne County Sheriff's Department, County Highway Department and the Emergency Management Agency. Warnings may be issued for the entire county or effect only a portion of the county. Radio stations WKBV/WFMG, WHON/WQLK, WECI and WCTV (cable channel 11) will be asked to broadcast Level I Travel Warning information.

The purpose of a Level I Travel Warning is to inform. No unusual restrictions on travel or parking are imposed by a warning. Motorists are free to travel at their discretion, but should exercise increased caution to ensure the safe operation of their vehicles.

Level I Travel Warnings should not be confused with Severe Weather Warnings issued by the National Weather Service.

When a Level I Travel Warning is issued for Wayne County, you should follow these preparedness recommendations;

- Make sure vehicle fuel tank is kept full and vehicle has been serviced and ready for expected conditions. Check emergency supplies in your vehicle.

- If you must travel, plan your route to avoid reported hazardous areas. Travel by main roads whenever possible. Allow extra travel time. Tell someone where you are going, your route of travel and your expected arrival time. Don't take unnecessary chances.

- Travel at reduced speed. Increase your following distance to allow for increased stopping distance. Expect to encounter hazardous roadway conditions.

- Check your supply of medications, groceries or other needed supplies. Keep at least a three (3) day supply of essential items. Check for other needs such as batteries, heating fuel, etc.

- Listen to your local radio stations for weather, travel information and emergency information. Do not call 911 for travel information.


Declared Transportation Emergencies invoke special powers of the County Commissioners under Indiana law to regulate the operation of motor vehicles on county roadways, to restrict parking and allow for the removal of parked, stalled or abandoned vehicles from county roadways. Again, these declarations apply only to roadways maintained by the Wayne County Highway Department and do not in anyway restrict travel on State or Federal highways. Radio stations WKBV/WFMG, WHON/WQLK, WECI and WCTV, WKOI as well as other area television stations will be asked to broadcast information concerning an emergency declaration.

In extreme situations, the Wayne County Commissioners may formally declare one of two classifications of Transportation Emergency:

Level II - Essential Travel Permitted Transportation Emergency

Or a

Level III - Travel Prohibited Transportation Emergency

When the primary hazard leading to the declaration is a winter weather event, such as ice, freezing rain or snow, the declared emergency will be referred to as a "SNOW Emergency" instead of a 'TRANSPORTATION Emergency".

Level II – Essential Travel Permitted Transportation (or Snow) Emergency

This classification may be declared when the Commissioners determine there is a significant threat to the operation of motor vehicles on county roads. Roadways are hazardous. Specified roadways or large sections of the roadway network are extremely hazardous. Travel may be significantly delayed and motorists exposed to existing conditions may risk injury.

As stated in the name, this emergency classification allows motorists to travel for essential purposes.

The Ordinance defines essential travel as follows:

-You may travel to and from work.

-You may travel to obtain essential medical care.

-You may travel to obtain essential medications.

-You may travel to obtain essential supplies of food or fuel.

-You may travel to a place of safe shelter.

Motorists who choose to travel for essential purposes must operate their vehicles safely and with all due caution for the existing conditions. Roadway conditions maybe severe. Expect to encounter roadway hazards. Travel at reduced speed, increase following distance and be prepared to stop for road obstructions and highway maintenance vehicles.

Non-essential travel is prohibited. Examples of travel for non-essential purposes would be entertainment, recreation, or to obtain non-essential items.

When this emergency declaration takes effect, parking of vehicles on county roads or the right-of-way is prohibited. Vehicles which are found parked in violation of this provision, or which are stalled or abandoned may be removed or towed, at the owners’ expense.

When a Level II Essential Travel Permitted Transportation (or Snow) Emergency is declared, follow these preparedness recommendations:

- Discuss your rights and responsibilities concerning reporting for work with your employer before severe weather strikes. Review and understand your employer's emergency plan.

- Listen to local radio stations for travel, weather information and emergency bulletins. Do not call 911 for travel information. You may call Wayne County EMA at 973-9399 for information.

- Call ahead before you travel. Make sure you are expected to report for work. Make sure any business you intend to visit is open.

- Make sure you have appropriate emergency supplies in your vehicle.

- If you must travel, tell someone where you are going, what route you will take and the approximate time you plan to arrive. Travel by main highways whenever possible, even if this is not the most direct route. Plan your route of travel to avoid reported hazardous areas. Allow extra travel time.

- Conditions are dangerous. Don't take unnecessary chances.

Level III – Travel Prohibited Transportation (or Snow) Emergency

The Commissioners may declare a Level III Travel Prohibited Transportation Emergency when conditions place motorists at great risk of injury or even death. The major portion of the county roadway network is closed or impassable or conditions make it unsafe to operate highway maintenance vehicles. A declaration of this emergency classification represents an extreme emergency situation of disaster proportions and indicates the need for extraordinary measures to clear the roadways of hazards. Blizzards, heavy ice storms, major floods, wide spread damage debris or direct damage or destruction of roads and bridges may result in the declaration of a Level III Travel Prohibited Transportation Emergency.

All county roadways are considered closed to non-emergency vehicles. Travel by the general public on county roads is prohibited. Members of emergency response organizations and critical occupations may travel on county roads to conduct necessary emergency operations and maintain critical functions. The ordinance describes these groups as follows:

Emergency Personnel includes rostered members of law enforcement agencies, fire departments, emergency medical services, search and rescue, rescue squads, military, disaster relief organizations, emergency management and requested mutual-aid partner organizations.

Critical Occupations includes employees of utility companies, highway departments, wrecker services, fuel suppliers, hospital and healthcare organizations, news media and railroad employees.

Parking on county roads and the right-of way is prohibited. This parking ban takes effect at the same time as the Level III Travel Prohibited Transportation (or Snow) Emergency declaration.

Recommended preparedness actions for a Level III Travel Prohibited Transportation Emergency include:

- To travel under existing conditions places motorists at extremely high risk of injury or death. Be prepared to stay where you are. Employers should activate their internal emergency plan and make arrangements to provide emergency shelter for employees who are at work.

- Have an Emergency Supplies Kit prepared and use it.

- Listen to local radio stations for emergency information and instructions. Call 911 only if you need emergency assistance. You may call Wayne County EMA at 973-9399 for information and non-emergency assistance.

- Use telephones only for emergency calls. Keep necessary calls short so that telephone systems will be available for emergency needs.

- Check on neighbors who may need assistance.

- Use generators and auxiliary heating and lighting devices such as kerosene stoves and lanterns safely and only with proper ventilation. Be especially conscious of fire hazards.

- If traveling when a Level III is issued, get off the road as soon as possible. Find a safe place to stay until the emergency order is lifted. Do not leave a vehicle parked on the road or the right-of-way.


PARKING PROHIBITION. Parking on county roads is prohibited during any declared transportation (or snow) emergency. The roadway is considered to be the entire width from boundary line to boundary line of right-of-way of every road maintained for public use. During a transportation or snow emergency parking of vehicles on any part of a county road is not permitted.

STALLED VEHICLES. Motorists whose vehicles become stalled or stranded on the roadway during a declared transportation or snow emergency are required by the ordinance to take immediate action to have the vehicle towed, removed or pushed off the roadway. Abandoning the vehicle or leaving the vehicle in the roadway is not permitted. Vehicles left in the roadway impede snow or debris removal actions and can delay emergency vehicles responding to emergency calls.

REMOVAL AND IMPOUNDING OF VEHICLES. Vehicles which are found parked, stalled or abandoned on a county roadway during a transportation or snow emergency will be towed or removed at the owner's expense. The vehicles will be impounded until the owner pays the costs of removal and any storage fees. The Wayne County Sheriff's Department and the Wayne County Highway Department are authorized under the ordinance to remove any vehicle which is parked, stalled or abandoned on any part of a roadway. The vehicle must be a hazard to traffic flow or interfere with snow or debris removal or other emergency operations. If your car is removed and impounded, contact the Wayne County Sheriff's Department to find out where it was taken.

REQUIREMENTS FOR UTILITY COMPANIES. Section 10 of the ordinance addresses roads closed or impassable from damage to utility systems. Utility companies are required to survey damaged utility systems where poles or wires or other utility components are obstructing roadways. The utility company must make sure the damaged utility system is safely de-energized or otherwise make it safe for the obstructing components to be removed and the roadway cleared. The utility company is required to respond in a timely manner and to coordinate its actions with the County Highway Department. Downed wires and poles not only obstruct normal motor vehicle travel on the roadway but also block the road for needed response by emergency vehicles.

FINES AND PENALTIES. Any person convicted of violating any provisions of the ordinance may be fined up to $150.00.

Safety Tips for Motorists in Emergencies

In times of emergency people often react incorrectly, either staying with or abandoning their cars at the wrong time. A mistake can be fatal. After almost every disaster, search and rescue teams find victims who might have survived if they had known whether to stay with or leave their cars.

On the following page are safety tips for drivers in various types of emergencies. This information should be kept in the glove compartment of your car. In any situation, the most important rule is: Stay informed. Don't panic.

Listen to radio or television for the latest National Weather Service bulletins on severe weather and any emergency declarations/travel restrictions for the area in which you will drive.

Earthquake - Stay in the car

Bring the car to a halt as soon as safely possible, then remain in the car until the shaking has stopped. The car's suspension system will make the car shake violently during the quake, but it is still a safe place to be. Avoid stopping near or under buildings, overpasses and utility wires. When the quaking has stopped, proceed cautiously, avoiding bridges and other elevated structures that might have been damaged by the quake and could be damaged further by aftershocks.

Flood - Get Out Of The Car

Never attempt to drive through water on a road. Water can be deeper than it appears, and water levels can rise very quickly. Most cars will float dangerously for at least a short while. A car can be buoyed by floodwaters and then swept downstream during a flood. Floodwaters also can erode roadways, and a missing section of road - even a missing bridge - will not be visible with water running over the area. Wade through floodwaters only if the water is not flowing rapidly and only in water no higher than the knees. If a car stalls in floodwater, get out quickly and move to higher ground. The floodwaters may still be rising, and the car could be swept away at any moment.

Tornado - Get Out Of The Car

A car is the least safe place to be during a tornado. When a warning is issued, do not try to leave the area by car. If you are in a car, leave it and find shelter in a building. If a tornado approaches and there are no safe structures nearby, lie flat in a ditch or other ground depression with your arms over your head.

Blizzard - Stay In The Car

Avoid driving in severe winter storms. If you are caught in a storm and your car becomes immobilized, stay in the vehicle and await rescue. Do not attempt to walk from the car unless you can see a definite safe haven at a reasonable distance. Disorientation during blizzard conditions comes rapidly and being lost in the snow is exceedingly dangerous. Turn on the auto engine for brief periods to provide heat, but always leave a down-wind window open slightly to avoid deadly carbon monoxide poisoning. Make sure the exhaust pipe is clear of snow. Exercise occasionally by clapping hands and moving around. Do not remain in one position for long, but avoid overexertion and exposure from shoveling or pushing the car. Leave the dome light on at night as a signal for rescuers. If more than one person is in the car, sleep only in shifts.

Summer Heat - Get Out Of The Car

During hot weather, heat build-up in a closed or nearly closed car can occur quickly and intensely. Children and pets can die from heat stroke in a matter of minutes when left in a closed car. Never leave anyone in a parked car during periods of high summer heat.

Developing Emergency - Stay Informed

In times of developing emergencies such as toxic material spill, nuclear plant accident, or enemy attack, keep a radio or television on and await instructions. If evacuation is recommended, move quickly but calmly, following instructions as to route to be used, evacuation shelter to be sought, and other directions.

Emergency Supplies to Keep In The Car

Cars should be equipped with supplies which could be useful in any emergency. Depending on location, climate of the area, personal requirements and other variables, the supplies in the kit might include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Blanket or sleeping bag

  • Booster cables and tools

  • Bottled water

  • Canned fruits and nuts

  • Can opener

  • Rain gear and extra clothes

  • Shovel

  • First aid kit

  • Matches and candles

  • Traction mats or chains

  • Flashlight

  • Never carry gasoline in containers other than the car's gas tank!

Visit the Weather Channel on-line for more driving safety tips:


Fountain City Police Department * 312 W. Main Street / P.O. Box 312 * Fountain City * IN * 47341
(765) 847-2233