We lost another one of our brothers in late August. IDOT construction engineer, Ryan Nichols, was struck and killed by a careless driver while inspecting a work site on Route 14 in Woodstock on August 22. He died from severe head trauma.
Nichols was only 34. He leaves behind a wife, a 2-year-old son, and twin boys less than a year old. Ironically, Nichols’ job, what he was doing when he was mowed down, was trying to make our roads safer. Same as the scores of highway maintainers, construction workers, flaggers, and other road workers who have been killed in Illinois during the past 25 years. The Teamsters have lost more than our share of these young men and women, but other labor unions regularly mourn their colleagues killed on the job on the state’s dangerous highways.
“What’s it going to take? Illinois has doubled and tripled the fines for work zone speeding, spent a fortune on public safety campaigns, even erected signs written in a child’s scrawl that carry messages such as ‘Slow down. My mommy works here.’” -Tony Barr, President of Teamsters Local 916
What’s it going to take? Illinois has doubled and tripled the fines for work zone speeding, spent a fortune on public safety campaigns, even erected signs written in a child’s scrawl that carry messages such as “Slow down. My mommy works here.”
Ask any highway flagger and they’ll tell you, drivers don’t even look them in the eye as they reluctantly slow down to pass through a work zone. Many drivers are irritated and distracted. Others are sleep-deprived. Some are drunk.
The 67-year-old driver was apparently none of those things. And that’s even more frightening. He just drove carelessly through a work zone and ended a young man’s life. He was cited for failure to use due care with a pedestrian.
What’s it going to take? I wish I had the answer. In the meantime, take extreme care this winter when you travel and advise your friends and families to do the same. Our highway maintainers will be out there clearing the roads. Let’s keep them safe.
My favorite time of year! I think we set a record this year, awarding 95 scholarships to the children, grandchildren, and spouses of our members, as well as to one of our members himself! Congratulations to all of our promising young, and not so young, people chasing their dreams. We are extremely proud of you.
Finally, be careful out there hunting this season. And enjoy the holidays with your families.
Until next time,