Last week a tragedy happened on a highway here in Saskatchewan. Ashley Dawn Richards, an 18 year old pregnant highway worker was struck by a motorist and killed on the job. The driver of the vehicle, a 44 year old man, was arrested on scene.
There is no reason that a tragedy like this should occur. Highway construction zones are clearly marked. By the time motorists reached the point where Ashley was working they would have passed various signs indicating they were entering, and then in, a construction zone with a reduced speed limit.
Those signs are there for a reason. To protect you, the motorist, and to protect the workers who are out there maintaining our roads to make them safe. The reduced speed limits are not optional. To ignore the rules of a construction zone is just, well, it’s not only against the law, it’s disgusting.
And if this news is not sad enough, it gets worse. Yesterday I heard an interview with the manager of the crew that Ashley was part of. He shared that nothing has changed. A young woman died just days ago and motorist going through that exact stretch of highway where she was struck are still not complying to the rules of the construction zone. They are still speeding, and the motorists who do slow down are being passed (in a clearly marked no passing zone) by those who can’t bother to slow down. This quite literally makes me ill.
This is really quite simple, or at least it should be. When entering a construction zone SLOW DOWN to the posted speed limit and obey other signs (like do not pass). The safety of highway workers depends on it! Oh and don’t forget to slow down for emergency, tow truck and maintenance vehicles as well. You are not more important than anyone else on the road.
Please, please, please, the next time you are tempted to not slow down in a construction zone – think of Ashley Dawn Richards, her grieving fiance Ben Diprose and the little unborn baby who also lost his life that day.