We commend the Missouri Legislature for passing — and Gov. Mike Parson for signing — a bill intended to protect the safety of highway and utility workers.
On Tuesday, Parson signed “Lyndon’s Law,” legislation that authorizes the Missouri Department of Revenue to revoke the driver’s license of anyone who hits a highway or utility worker in a work zone, or an emergency responder in an emergency zone. Lyndon Ebker was a 30-year employee of the Missouri Department of Transportation when he was struck and killed in a Franklin County work zone, by an inattentive motorist, in 2016.
“On behalf of the MoDOT men and women who put their lives on the line every day to design, build, operate and maintain Missouri roads and bridges, I’d like to thank the Missouri General Assembly for passing House Bill 499 and Gov. Parson for signing it into law,” Michael Pace said in a statement. Pace is the chairman of the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission.
This legislative proposal was a priority for MoDOT and the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission, he explained. “It’s a fitting tribute to our fallen worker, Lyndon Ebker, whose tragic death in the line of duty was the catalyst for this important change.”
Missouri’s Work Zone Awareness Campaign has tried to drive home the point with drivers that they need to slow down, put their phone down and pay attention as they drive past work zones.
Work zones can be moving operations, such as striping, patching or mowing. They can also be short term, temporary lane closures to make quick repairs or remove debris from the roadway. Or they can be an ambulance crew working on the side of a road, trying to save someone’s life after an accident.
Revoking a driver’s license isn’t a slap on the wrist, and we don’t support it for minor infractions. Most people depend on their vehicles — and their ability to drive them — to make a living.
But when a vehicle hits a road/utility or emergency worker, that’s serious. Last year, driver inattention was the No. 1 cause of work zone crashes.
Our hope is that the law will act as a preventive measure. If the new law works, no news will be good news: We won’t hear of much in the way of wrecks or revocations.