MASON, MI (WLNS) – We’re right in the middle of the summer travel season and that’s putting some people in danger on the roads.
A family in Mason has a plea for you to do one simple thing behind the wheel that they say could have saved their loved one’s life.
The Michigan Department of Transportation said there were 4,908 work-zone crashes in our state last year. A total of 17 people lost their lives as a result. That’s up 15 people who were killed in work zone crashes in 2015. Those crashes were preventable.
The widow of a construction worker, who was killed this year, is speaking out with hopes to make sure these numbers don’t increase.
For roughly 10 minutes, standing on an overpass in Mason, 6 News cameras rolled as we watched cars drive by a tow and wrecker truck going anywhere from 70 to 80 miles per hour.
It was shocking to see how many people were breaking the law by simply not moving over.
“With all the distracted driving that’s happening today, it’s scary and I lose sleep over it every day,” Amy Folleth said.
She lost her husband, Kevin the second week of June. Her two kids lost their father.
Kevin was in Indiana setting up cones for an upcoming construction project, when a driver hit and killed him and then fled the scene. Indiana has a move over law.
“Losing Kevin has devastated our lives. He was the center of our family and because somebody was distracted and drunk,” Folleth said. He’s not here with us anymore and I feel like we need to get the message out to people, let them know how important this is to move over.”
All 50 states have a move over law. In many, it applies to police officers, first responders, wreckers, and those involved in road service.
The law is simple, if you see any of these people on the side of the road, reduce your speed and move over.
“Right now in the state law, construction workers aren’t included in the move over law and I just think it’s about time their included,” Ingham County Sheriff Scott Wriggelsworth said.
Sheriff Wriggelsworth is hoping to add construction workers to that list. It’s personal for him, Kevin was his best friend.
“Whether it be a police officer, EMS, or construction worker, we’re all people, we all have families we want to get home to so it really shouldn’t matter what color the truck is or what color the lights are,” he said.
“I did not realize that construction workers were not park of the “Move over” law and that needs to change,” Folleth said.
Ken and Kevin McNeilly have been setting up cones for construction sites for the last 30 years. They know all too well how dangerous it can be.
“A lot of times we’re just trying to educate the people to slow down and move over,” Ken said. “A lot of times we don’t get that respect.”
Josh Clayton owns a towing company in East Lansing. He said the speeding and distracted driving has gotten worse. He’s been towing trucks for the last 17 years.
“I’d like to see the same respect given to anybody that’s working on the side of the road,” Clayton said. “It’s high enough risk as it is, it should be common sense.”
Clayton is hoping the public will support legislation put forward by a state lawmaker.
“Representative Zorn has just entered a bill that to require all drivers to reduce their speed by 10 miles per hour when there’s someone working on the side of the road I would encourage everyone to call their legislators and support it,” Clayton said.
In addition to the 17 work zone fatalities in 2016, numbers from MDOT show there were also 75 serious injuries, which is up from 69 in 2015.
Kevin Folleth is missed dearly by his family and members in the community, they know they can’t bring him back, but they wish to send this message to make sure a tragedy like this doesn’t happen again.
“I hope this does save somebody else, we’ve got to stop the distracted driving, there’s other lives that will be lost and other families that will be devastated,” Folleth said. “Move over and slow down.”