Spring brings awareness of work zones on highways

Published 8:20 pm Thursday, March 26, 2015

Monday kicked off National Work Zone Awareness Week, held each spring to bring national attention to motorist and worker safety and mobility issues in work zones. Since 1999, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has worked with the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) and the American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATSSA) to coordinate and sponsor the event.

This year’s theme was the original theme used 15 years ago in the national event that was created to focus attention on work zone safety and work zone workers. Since its inception, the number of work zone fatalities has decreased significantly.

However, Monday brought an unfortunate start to the week of awareness. A state highway worker, 36-year-old Grey Bailey, was killed after being struck by an impaired mother in a work zone along a U.S. Highway 70 and Capps Bridge Road, west of Goldsboro.

According to N.C. State Highway Patrol, Tahisha Dukette of Princeton, was charged with DWI, death by motor vehicle and child endangerment, as the 28-year-old mother had two children, ages two and nine, in the car at the time. Officials believe the woman’s impairment was related to drugs.

Despite the tragic death of the DOT employee, a lesson can be learned here. Not only is it dangerous to one’s safety to drive while impaired, but one must also think about the many lives at stake during such a move. When anyone gets behind the wheel, sober or intoxicated, anything can happen out on roadways. One person’s wrong move could affect many.

With the influx of spring, it is widely known that warmer weather seasons are a time when DOT and other outfits conduct repairs and other projects related to road and highway maintenance. With that said, there are workers’ lives at stake when those projects are being done.

So it is important to practice safe driving and awareness when behind the wheel, especially when there are workers on the road. Such practices could have prevented the death of Bailey on Monday. It is also to keep in mind that when transporting small children, it is important to think about the decisions one makes before putting themselves in a situation where they could harm children. Something similar could have easily happened to the children involved in the accident that killed the worker.