Friday, June 18, 2010


Contributed by Norm Nyhuis, Trainer, Evergreen Safety Council
Having recently returned from a trip to western New York State, I had opportunity to observe driving behavior in an area of our country, that I had not experienced before. This trip resulted in a major BFOO, for me.

What’s a “BFOO”, you ask? A Blinding Flash Of the Obvious.

People drive differently and driving laws vary in different states. The lesson for me was I still don’t know it all, even though I’ve driven for more than four decades.

For example: RCW 46.61.440 establishes the speed limit in schools zones, here in Washington State to be a maximum of 20 mph in posted school zones. Most of us remember this, and abide by the law. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that the speed limit in school zones in NY is 15 mph.

Another example of how different State’s laws may vary: Now that summer has arrived, the highway work season is fully underway. In my daily commute it seems that the “Road Construction” warning signs are everywhere. The State of Washington is very serious about protecting the workers on these road projects. Most of us have seen publicity exhorting drivers to “Give ‘em a brake” – give the workers in the construction zone extra attention and be ready to stop due to intrusions into your lane of travel by the equipment or workers. You probably have seen the signs informing drivers that “Traffic Fines are DOUBLE in work zones”.

The State of NY takes safety in roadway work zones seriously, too. I was a bit surprised, and very pleased to see signs posted, reminding drivers in New York, that if they received two speeding infractions in work zones, their driver’s license will be suspended!

If your or your company participates in roadway work, or work on the side of the road, you need to know and understand the laws regarding setting up roadway work zones and safely getting traffic through the work area. ESC offers the accredited Traffic Control Supervisor, as well as Traffic Control Flagger and Flagger Instructor classes to insure your workers are safe. Classes like these are essential in keeping your workers safe.

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