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Three incidents endangering road workers prompt pleas for careful driving

By: Sherri Kolade | Farmington Press | Published September 10, 2018

 A vehicle lays damaged at the scene of an accident in a work zone last week.

A vehicle lays damaged at the scene of an accident in a work zone last week.

Photo by the Road Commission for Oakland County

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Two Road Commission for Oakland County employees were injured when a vehicle struck their truck at around 8 a.m. Sept. 5 on eastbound M-5, immediately west of Drake Road.

“Our pickup truck was driving eastbound. They were getting ready to set up a work zone to do some forestry work along that section of M-5,” Craig Bryson, senior manager of communications and public information for the Road Commission, said.

Bryson said the employees had planned to cut back some trees and brush in that location.

“The pickup truck was pulling over off of the freeway and a car came flying up behind them, as I understand.”

Bryson said that the driver saw the truck and apparently “couldn't stop.”

“So they went around the right side of the truck onto the shoulder and then hit the side of the truck,” he said. “It caused our truck to flip over upside down ... injuring our employees.”

Bryson said that the two employees were transported to a local hospital; one was released that afternoon, and the other employee was released the next day.

“Fortunately, it turns out there were no serious injuries — some bruises and a little bit of pain, but nothing life threatening.”

He said that the truck was still moving and slowing down, getting ready to stop on the eastbound shoulder, when it was struck.

“We … want to remind drivers: please be alert, watch out for road workers and anybody working along the road,” he said. “I don’t know if this was a case of distracted driving or not, but we want to remind people not to use their phones. Don’t text and drive. Don’t dial and drive. Pay attention to the road, please.”

According to a Sept. 7 press release from the the Road Commission, another incident happened after the first one — a car plowed through a different workzone.

“For the third time in less than a month, an incident today involving a careless driver put … RCOC employees at risk while working near a busy road,” the release states. A car reportedly drove into the barreled-off work zone, scattering barrels and “luckily missing” workers and equipment on M-59, east of Williams Lake Road, in Waterford Township.

The third incident occurred Aug. 20, when a semi plowed into the back of a Road Commission truck in a work zone on I-96, near Milford Road, in Lyon Township.

“We are imploring motorists to slow down and be aware that there are men and women in the work zones,” Road Commission Deputy Managing Director/County Highway Engineer Gary Piotrowicz said in the release. “When driving, it is imperative that you watch your surroundings and slow down in work zones. Working near traffic is a difficult job, and the last thing we want to see is road workers put at risk by careless drivers.”

The Farmington Hills Police Department was not available for a comment by press time.

For more information, go to www.rcocweb.org.

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