Matt Helms: Bill Would Aid Drivers, Construction WorkersAuthor/Presenter: Helms, Matt
New legislation is about to clarify when drivers can be jailed and fined for injuring or killing road workers. In 2001, the state passed Andy’s Law, named for 19-year-old construction worker Andrew Lefko, who was left paraplegic and brain-damaged from a 1999 crash in a work zone. The driver received only 45 days in jail. Andy’s Law raised the penalties: Up to 15 years in prison and $7,500 in fines for driving in a criminal manner — such as reckless or drunken driving — and killing a construction worker, and up to a year in jail and $2,500 in fines for injuring one. The new legislation would make it quite clear where construction zones begin and end. It would require boundaries where all state and local work zones are to be marked with signs bearing messages such as “Work Zone Begins” for stationary construction projects or “Work Convoy Begins” for crews rolling along roads painting lane markers or patching potholes. The bills also would lower the threshold at which driving offenses can trigger Andy’s Law penalties.