Thursday, January 17, 2013

Another Worker Hit — Please, Please, Please Slow for the Cone Zone

During the I-5/SR-14 HOV connector ribbon-cutting last Friday, Metro’s Executive Director of Highway Programs (and former Caltrans District 7 Director) Doug Failing reminded attendees about the importance of driving carefully in construction zones. (See video below.) He couldn’t have known then that just a few days later, a contract worker setting up cones for a Caltrans carpool lane project on SR-91 would be struck by a Honda Accord. 

The worker did not go home to his family at the end of his shift that night. Instead, he went to the hospital with severe injuries. The driver, who did not stop, was later booked on suspicion of felony hit and run, DUI.

Most motorists DO slow down in construction zones. They DO care about the safety of workers. And they don’t drive drunk. But all it takes is one reckless act — one text message, one cell phone call — to destroy someone’s life. One moment of inattention, one beer too many, and you’ve killed or injured someone’s father or mother, sister or brother, son or daughter. And YOU could be spending the foreseeable future in prison.

Freeway construction is not an easy gig. It’s frequently loud, dirty, back-breaking work often in miserable conditions. And there’s always the very real chance that you might not live to finish your shift. So, when we say “Slow for the Cone Zone,” it’s not just a slogan. It’s a reminder that no one has the right to be reckless with other people’s lives. So please, when you see those construction signs, slow down, pay attention, be careful. The workers you pass want to go home, too.