According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Admin. 32,140 people died on the nation’s highways in 2013. Of those, 579 occurred in work zones. Tuesday of this week, a worker from the West Virginia Division of Highways was struck in a work zone while filling potholes on I-77. He was treated and released from a local hospital, but it could have been much worse. You can read an article about the accident on Metronews.
As licensed drivers on the highway, it is our responsibility to ensure our safety, but to also ensure the safety of those around us. It is especially important to heed this advice when you are traveling in a work zone with men and women walking around on the roadway without the protection of a five star safety rated moving pile of steel and plastic. They are entrusting you to obey the law and reduce speed, taking caution when you see orange cones and flashing lights. If not law, enforcement should and will issue expensive tickets. And you would deserve it.
West Virginia has a large number of roadways that need repair. In the coming months it will take place either by filling pot holes or by repaving streets. I want them to be repaired, and I am sure most other drivers will agree. Road construction makes travel difficult, it slows us down, it sometimes even makes us late for an important event. But it is a necessary evil on our roads. The more we use them, the more they will need to be fixed.
I appreciate the hard work of those that fix our roads. It takes guts to step out on an interstate with cars flying by at over 70mph and even those that obey the signs and travel at 55mph appear to be going too fast for my taste. The hard work that they do keeps us and our families safe. Anyone that hits a pothole traveling at any rate of speed knows how dangerous they can be. We need to show that appreciation by slowing down and watching out for workers.
Workplace accidents are difficult to overcome, especially in the construction business. Once you or someone you love is injured at work, the lasting devastation can be huge. Medical bills, loss of wages and ongoing financial needs create a mix that is difficult to overcome. It is best to avoid those types of injuries all together. Accident prevention is key whether on our roadways or in any other work setting.
It is my hope that the driver who struck the construction worker on I-77 receives any punishment he deserves. It appears that he may have broke the law, and as a driver with tractor trailer training, he should have known better.