Saturday, May 10, 2003

The War at Home

VDOT Worker on Overpass Struck, Killed

Victim Hit on Bridge by Car, Then Again After Fall to I-395
Washington Post
Saturday, May 10, 2003; Page B02
James Richard Cameron died yesterday trying to make the roads a little safer.

The 58-year-old father of two was hit by a car while working on the Duke Street overpass in Alexandria. He fell over the side of the bridge onto Interstate 395, where he was struck by three vehicles in the northbound lanes.

Cameron, a Virginia Department of Transportation employee for 13 years, was doing bridge deck repairs at 10:29 a.m. when a car drove straight at him before he could react, Virginia State Police said.


Highway work zone accidents are a serious problem in Virginia, VDOT spokeswoman Joan Morris said. Last year, seven employees were killed and more than 350 were injured, she said.


"VDOT takes great pride in setting up work zones properly," Morris said. "People have got to expect the unexpected. Watch for those large orange signs. Look for those flaggers, and follow those directions. This is such a tragedy, because our workers are out there to make the roads safer for everyone. These accidents usually can be avoided if people would simply pay attention."
Well, not exactly. It's true that people need to drive more carefully and pay better attention. And fines for speeding in a workzone need to be stiffer. But just as workplace safety cannot depend simply on workers "being careful," highway construction zone safety can't depend on drivers just paying attention. The driver that killed Cameron was 89 years old. I wouldn' t want my life to depend on how well an 89 year old driver is paying attention.

Better lighting, warnings and barriers can prevent many more highway workzone deaths. Click here or here for more information on highway workzone safety.