EDITORIAL: Northway work zone crash a reminder to exercise care in roadway construction zones

The scene Tuesday - Credit: Round Lake Fire Department
PHOTOGRAPHER:

The scene Tuesday - Credit: Round Lake Fire Department

Think of one of your kids working there.

Or your dad or mom, or your spouse or your friend.

Hell, think of it as another human being.

The next time you approach a work construction zone on a roadway, think of anyone you know being injured or killed because you were unwilling to slow down and pay enough attention to protecting the people working there.

Think of Alexander Marin of Ballston Spa, who on Wednesday afternoon was listed in critical condition at Albany Med after being struck by a vehicle while working in a Northway construction zone near Exit 12 in Malta on Tuesday afternoon.

Think of Aaron Gagliardi, who was injured in the same incident while sitting inside a truck parked in the zone. His injuries were non-life-threatening, thank God.

Think of the other worker who was struck and received minor injuries, and think of all the other members of the crew who were vulnerable to injury or death for simply doing their jobs.

Think of being the loved one getting that gut-wrenching phone call.

Reckless driving in construction zones is a persistent problem in New York.

Last year, during the Operation Hard Hat work-zone safety initiative, state police issued 1,779 tickets to drivers. Most of the tickets were related directly to safety — speeding, operating a cell phone, failure to move over, failure to obey a flag person, failure to obey a traffic device and drunken driving.

In a year when the covid pandemic kept many drivers off the highway, the nearly 1,800 tickets issued during the operation last year represented a 68% increase over the previous year.

Highway crews give plenty of warning in advance of a construction zone.

When you see the first sign, slow down to at least the suggested lower speed limit, and preferably much lower. Don’t wait until you’re right on top of the actual work site before getting ready. If you’re using a cell phone (which is already illegal), hang it up and put it down. Follow the signs designating which lane you should be in, and then be on high alert.

There is simply no excuse for operating your vehicle recklessly in a construction zone.

Don’t take precautions just because you want to avoid getting a ticket. Take them because you want to prevent a tragedy like the one that happened on Tuesday.

Do it because you wouldn’t want what happened to them to happen to someone you know and love.

Summer construction season is just getting into swing. Make it a priority to use extreme caution while driving in construction zones this year.

Categories: Editorial, Opinion

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