MITA is a major sponsor of Michigan's Give 'em a Brake Safety Coalition (GEAB), which kicked off its annual highway work zone safety campaign at a news conference held at the State Capitol today, unveiling encouraging numbers along with a warning: Motorists should continue paying close attention in work zones and drive the appropriate speed. In 2006, there were more than 5,000 crashes in work zones on Michigan roadways - a 20 percent decline over the previous year.
"We know our efforts, in collaboration with the statewide GEAB Safety Coalition, have saved many lives," said Kirk T. Steudle, director, Michigan Department of Transportation. "However, we must continue to promote work zone safety in order to reduce crashes, injuries, and deaths even further. Our goal is to make 2007 the safest yet.”
Michigan's Give 'em a Brake Safety Coalition hopes that continued use of the "Where Workers Present 45" signs will provide a more consistent application of speed limits in all work zones in order to protect workers and motorists.
"We believe the new speed rules are working," said Dennis Gillow, infrastructure director, International Union of Operating Engineers Local 324. " Our group (and other labor organizations) collaborated with the Michigan Department of Transportation and the Michigan Infrastructure & Transportation Association on the work zone signing scheme. While 2006 was safer than 2005, we still have more work to do. The bottom line is this: Appropriate speeds save lives of workers and motorists.”
In 2006, there were 5,216 crashes, 1,450 injuries and 18 fatalities in Michigan work zones, a 20 percent improvement over 2005 data. In 2005, there were 6,545 crashes, 1,811 injuries, and 20 fatalities.
"We don’t want to rest on our laurels now,” said Rob Coppersmith, vice president of membership services, Michigan Infrastructure & Transportation Association.” The "Where Workers Present 45" signs seem to be working but we must focus on reducing crashes even more. Safety is serious business and motorists need to take their job behind the wheel as such.”
Michigan's Give 'em a Brake Safety Coalition members include: Michigan Department of Transportation; Michigan Infrastructure & Transportation Association; Michigan Laborers' District Council; Michigan State Building & Construction Trades Council; and the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 324. Other advisory members of the coalition include: the Michigan State Police; Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning; Michigan Center for Truck Safety; the Michigan Secretary of State's Office; NES Traffic Safety and Sara Nelson, a roadway safety advocate.
Fines for motorists who are caught speeding in construction zones are doubled. A motorist that injures or kills a road worker faces up to 10 years in jail and $7,500 in fines.
NEW: Pending work-zone legislation, once passed, would extend the penalties for injuring or killing ANYONE in a work zone.
NOTE: Andy’s Law is currently in effect. It involves penalties for injuring or killing a worker.