BLOOMFIELD TWP., MICH (FOX 2) - In the wake of a traffic flagger being hit by a motorist in late November, the Road Commission for Oakland County (RCOC) reminds drivers to use caution anytime work is occurring on roads.
On Nov. 19, an employee of Allied Construction paving company, working on behalf of RCOC on an RCOC project, was struck by a motorist on West Long Lake Road near Kirkway Road in Bloomfield Township. The worker was directing traffic through the construction zone.
The road worker was initially listed in critical condition in an area hospital. He is now reportedly recovering at home.
"Our number-one priority is the safety of both those who use the roads and those who work on the roads," stated RCOC Managing Director Dennis Kolar. "We can’t say this enough: Please slow down and use caution in road-construction zones. We want to make sure the men and women working in these zones go home to their families every night."
Kolar added that road-construction and maintenance work can be dangerous, with workers often working in close proximity to traffic. "Whether it’s pothole-patching crews, or crews repairing traffic signals or the contractors repaving our roads, these individuals are striving to make the roads safer for the rest of us, and we all owe it to them to use great caution around them to ensure their safety."
The Nov. 19 crash remains under investigation by the Bloomfield Twp. Police Department.
"I am very pleased that this Allied employee is now recovering," Kolar said, "but I am saddened that he must now go through the healing process as a result of an incident that was absolutely unnecessary. I hope this is a wake-up call to all drivers that work-zone safety is critical."
Not only is driving cautiously in work zones critical for the safety of road workers, failing to do so can be very costly for motorists. In 1997, state lawmakers doubled the fines for speeding in work zones.
Repeat work zone tickets could lead to a suspended or revoked driver’s license. Additionally, work zone tickets often lead to increased insurance rates for drivers.
Additionally, Public Act 103, known as Andy's Law, took effect in 2001. The law creates penalties of up to one year in prison for injuring and up to 15 years in prison for killing a road construction or maintenance worker. It also imposes a maximum penalty of $7,500. The law is named for Andrew Lefko, a 19-year-old who was left paralyzed after being hit while working on I-275 in Metro Detroit.
In 2003, Andy's Law was strengthened by the passage of Public Act 315 that lowers the threshold at which driving offenses can trigger Andy's Law penalties. The law now includes penalties for driving offenses such as careless driving or speeding, which are considered civil offenses. The law also applies to criminal offenses such as reckless or drunken driving.
"I understand that it is sometime frustrating to have to wait in traffic while road construction or maintenance is taking place," Kolar noted. "However, a little bit of patience can save lives and prevent injuries – and help motorists avoid potential jail time and fines if you hit a worker. Please help make sure the road workers get home safely."