New Online Campaign Aims to Make Road Construction Season Safer

Workers ask drivers #whatstherush?

TORONTO, April 26 /CNW/ - As a new construction season kicks off, Ontario road workers have turned to Twitter and Facebook to get their message out to drivers.  The province's road workers have launched an online public awareness campaign called "Safety: A Two Way Street" to "tweet," "text" and "Facebook" their appeal to drivers to slow down in construction safety zones.

"We're doing whatever it takes to get the message out," said Jeff Gill, a construction foreman working on Trafalgar Road in Oakville, where he says police issued over a dozen speeding tickets in less than an hour to drivers who ignored the speed limit. "Raising public awareness really is our only protection. All that's standing between me and two tonnes of oncoming steel, is a sign and a lot of nerve."

The public awareness campaign encourages road construction workers to share their stories, family pictures and their personal appeal to drivers on Facebook by clicking onto:

http://www.facebook.com/SafetyATwoWayStreet
http://twitter.com/#!/SafeRoadWorkers

"By taking drivers into our lives and living rooms through Facebook, we hope they'll see we're not just part of a road crew, we've got families too," said Michael O'Brien of LIUNA local 183. "We want to be able to thank drivers at the end of construction season for slowing down and keeping our families together."

In 2006, the Ontario Government amended the Highway Traffic Act, doubling fines for speeding in designated construction zones and making it an offence to disobey a traffic control person's STOP and SLOW sign. Between 2000 and 2006, 52 people were killed in road construction zones across the province. Since November, two workers have died after being struck by oncoming cars in road construction zones. They'll be remembered this Thursday, April 28 on National Day of Mourning in memory of all workers killed or hurt on the job in Canada.

"Ontario has among the safest roads in North America and we depend on the skills of our road workers to keep our roads safe," said Minister of Transportation Kathleen Wynne.  "Our government has put tough legislation in place to reduce speeding in construction zones and this public awareness campaign will help to strengthen our government's road safety priorities."

The campaign, supported by LIUNA Local 183, and the Ontario Road Builders' Association urges the public to go online to support their efforts to make this a safer construction season for thousands of Ontario road construction workers.

"There are more than 2,100 collisions on average each year in road construction zones and that's just far too many," said Karen Renkema, spokesperson for the Ontario Road Builders' Association. "We're hoping this campaign will help get through to those drivers who continue to ignore the signs and fines."

LIUNA Local 183 is the largest construction union in North America, representing more than 31,500 construction workers and their families in the Greater Toronto Area.

The Ontario Road Builders' Association is the voice of the majority of road building contractors who build and maintain Ontario's provincial roads. In addition, ORBA boasts approximately 100 associate members who supply products and equipment to the industry.  To learn more about ORBA go to www.orba.org.

SOURCE Ontario Road Builders' Association

For further information:

Danna O'Brien
danna@playbookcommunications.com (o) 416-690-5777 ext 163 (cell) 416-500-0699

Michael O'Brien
Spokesperson, LIUNA Local 183 (cell) 416-206-0204
Email mobrien@local183.ca

Karen Renkema, Director of Government Relations, ORBA
karen@orba.org (905) 507-1107 x223 (cell) 416-768-4848


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