This week is Work Zone Safety Awareness Week, a campaign by TDOT to educate drivers on Tennessee's Move Over law and improve safety in construction zones.
It's a push that Nashville native Sarah Tolentino has become an advocate for ever since her father, a TDOT worker, was killed on the job back in 2016.
"When you're in that situation working with TDOT, or has anything to do with being on the side of the interstate or in construction zones, that are really dangerous with high speed traffic, something might happen," says Tolentino. "You always have that in the back of your mind, but you never think it's going to happen to your family."
Her father was David Younger, a 5-year employee of TDOT who was doing a routine maintenance job on the side of I-40 on April 28, 2016, when he was struck and killed by a semi driver. Younger was one of three TDOT workers killed that year. It was one of the deadliest years for our state's Department of Transportation.
Last year in Tennessee, 20 people were killed in work zone crashes by drivers not obeying the Move Over Law.
The law states that you must move over for any vehicle on the side of the road that has flashing lights of any kind, whether it be a police car, maintenance worker, or even just a driver on the shoulder with their hazard lights on. If you can not safely move over, you must slow down. Failure to move over or slow down can result in a ticket that can cost up to $500.
"I want other people to realize these are workers they want to go home and see their families. They've got family waiting on them at home with supper. Then something like this happens... it's very tragic, very unnecessary," says Tolentino.
TDOT will be installing “Work with Us – Move Over, Slow Down” signs that will be posted at work zones across the state this year.
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