Recently, I was asked to cover an important story for Laurel TV, one which I hope increases awareness, and creates impact. City of Laurel (Maryland) employees galvanized and lent its collective voice to the effort to pass SB445, a measure aimed at protecting service workers from roadside hazards.
The bill, introduced by Senator Wayne Norman's office, wants to require drivers to slow down, and when feasible, make lane changes when approaching service vehicles working on highways from behind. All states currently have some form of law requiring drivers to slow down and change lanes when approaching emergency vehicles and tow trucks conducting roadside work. However, garbage and recycling trucks are not currently protected in Maryland. Laurel Mayor Craig Moe led a contingent of Laurel city employees to the state capitol in Annapolis to voice support for the measure.
"People are sometimes so quick to get from one location to the next they sometimes forget about that [safety of roadside workers] they need to understand that we want our workers to go home safely to see their families," said Mayor Moe.
The issue hits home for Laurel city government employees who lost one of their own, Marcus Colbert, in January of 2017 when he was hit by a driver while loading garbage into his garbage truck near the intersection of Old Sandy Spring Road and Casulas Way.
"The only thing I'm asking is to pass this bill and maybe we get to save a life," said Colbert's father Ralph Brent, who attended the hearing in front of the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee. "If someone is in a hurry just take a minute to wait, your house is going to be there when you get there."
The bill now heads to the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee for a vote, and if passed, will move on to the Senate floor for a full vote.