Rep. Jack O’Malley represents the 101st District in the Michigan House.
State Rep. Jack O’Malley, of Lake Ann, today voted to advance legislation to better protect road workers in work zones by improving sign and lighting safeguards.
House Bill 5286, sponsored by state Rep. Mark Huizenga, of Walker, allows the use of flashing lights on speed limit signs in work zones when workers are present. The plan also allows for the use of digital speed limit displays within work zones.
“Construction work on our roads is an incredibly dangerous job. People travel on the highway at speeds that can often be deadly and workers are out there with very little protection,” O’Malley said. “These concepts will make it clear to drivers that they need to pay attention and slow down for the safety of our workers.
“There are lives on the line here. Proper speed can’t be emphasized enough.”
In 2020, the Office of Highway Safety Planning reported over 4,000 work zone crashes resulting in 1,050 injuries and 14 fatalities. O’Malley, who chairs the House Transportation Committee, led a hearing in May on the issue. Michigan Department of Transportation Chief Operations Officer and Chief Engineer Tony Kratofil told the committee six workers had been killed in Michigan in work zones just in the previous eight months.
The hearing came after O’Malley joined other state legislators on a tour of a construction site on I-69 in mid-Michigan. The group talked with workers on-site to gather input on work zone safety and discuss additional safeguards that could be put in place to improve it.
O’Malley helped advance HB 5286 from committee in overwhelming fashion in August before it advanced unanimously through the House today. The plan now moves to the Senate for further consideration.
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