Safer Roads Save Lives.
National Work Zone Safety Awareness Week, in its 21st year, is a national annual spring campaign held at the start of construction season encouraging safe driving through highway work zones. The Ohio Department of Transportation, Ohio Contractors Association, State Highway Patrol, and Ohio LECET have partnered to deliver this strong safety message across the state of Ohio.
The April 26th event allowed media members, legislators, and citizens to witness the riveting, heartbreaking testimony of Mrs. Linda Cook. Linda lost her loving husband Steve Cook, while he was working as a union Laborer constructing a Columbus Area Highway in 2017.
“Steve loved his job and loved making roads safer,” Linda Cook expressed. “We all want smooth quality roads, with improved lanes for motorists. I urge the public to give our construction zone workers space to do their vital jobs.”
According to the State Highway Patrol, since 2015, there have been 32,130 crashes that occurred in work zones on Ohio roadways. Among these were 113 fatal crashes that killed 125 individuals. There have been 18 work zone fatalities so far in 2020, a 50% increase over the same ten-month period in 2019.
“We all need to realize that the speed limit is in place to protect our lives. We have members working on our roadways every day and they have the right to get home safely to their families and not have the worry of being injured or killed by someone speeding, driving impaired, texting, or just not paying attention. We all share in the responsibility of keeping the men and women working in and driving through our highway work zones safe,” said Ralph Cole, Business Manager/Secretary-Treasurer of the Laborers’ District Council of Ohio.
To increase awareness of just how serious this problem is for the public and industry workers, the Ohio Laborers and Ohio LECET have invested significantly throughout the state in public awareness campaigns on social media, streaming, radio, and during professional sporting events. These messages encourage motorists to do their part by taking a safe-driving pledge when entering work zones. Linda Cook has helped start a Students Against Destructive Decision (SADD) chapter at a local area high school.
Ohio Laborers are the first construction workforce on the job, and the last ones to leave. Its over 10,000 Union members stand for safety and quality work, fair wages, quality insurance, life-long training, and a dignified retirement.