Thursday, April 12, 2018

Swift thinking and good luck has kept paving foreman alive

By Tina Werner

Amy Laveway has had one too many close calls on the roadway and recalls veering off to avoid being hit by objects thrown from vehicles, motorists themselves, or worse. "I have been lucky," she said. But not everyone in her line of work can say the same.

Laveway is a 13-year truck driver foreman with Lakeside Industries, one of our local asphalt contractors. Construction runs in her family, as her dad and grandfather were both in the business. Newly married, the thought of never coming home to her loved ones after a shift on the highway is a real nightmare.
Amy Laveway says she has "been lucky" to not lose her life working in a construction zone by distracted drivers.

While a vehicle in a construction zone has not hit her, Laveway says several of her coworkers have suffered serious injuries. A fellow foreman at Lakeside Industries was injured in a work zone by a distracted driver and lost his leg. The employee is still unable to return to work.

"If I was hurt it would create a huge financial hardship for my family," she said.

In the past 10 years, the number of distracted or inattentive driver citations in work zones in our state has increased by 66 percent. Last year alone, that number reached 659. Like Laveway's coworker, many have lasting injuries that change their lives forever.
Vehicles speeding by Amy Laveway's truck during a construction operation.

Far too many of our workers and contractor crews have had narrow escapes with death by motorists flying by or encroaching too close to the boundary. Since 1950, we have had 60 workers – husbands, children, coworkers, and mothers – killed in work zone-related incidents. They leave behind real families with real wounds that will never be the same. We treat safety as our top priority, whether it's our own employees or contractor crews working for us.

Rob McNelly, Lakeside Industries Superintendent, said a speeding driver killed his cousin in a work zone near Mayfield Lake in Lewis County in 2000.

"It was like yesterday," McNelly said. "He left behind four kids that I go visit regularly because they lost their dad."

Laveway has had garbage and bottles thrown at her while working, along with bearing the brunt of hand gestures and colorful language.

We work hard to keep our workers safe with equipment and training but need the traveling public's help.

We ask all drivers in work zones to:
  • Slow Down – Drive the posted speeds, they're there for your safety.
  • Be Kind – Our workers are helping to keep you safe and improve the roadways.
  • Pay Attention – both to workers directing you and surrounding traffic
  • Stay Calm – Expect delays, leave early or take an alternate route if possible; no meeting or appointment is worth risking someone's life.
The next time you are driving, keep in mind workers like Laveway who work hard to keep drivers safe and improve our roadways.