Committee Advances Legislation to Protect Road Workers

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: State Rep. Mike Sanders
Office: (405) 557-7407

OKLAHOMA CITY – State Rep. Mike Sanders today praised a House committee’s passage of his legislation to increase the safety of road workers in Oklahoma.

“Last year, the Legislature limited the use of red-and-blue emergency lights at the request of sheriffs and other law enforcement officials throughout the state,” said Sanders, R-Kingfisher said. “The intent was to restrict towing services who were using the lights, but we discovered that we had also limited their use by Department of Transportation employees and other road workers. After careful consideration, lawmakers voted today to reinstate the right of road crews to use those emergency lights. I commend them for their bipartisan support.”

House Bill 1061 had the support of the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety, multiple fire service organizations, the Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT), the Oklahoma Public Employees Association, and the Association of County Commissioners of Oklahoma. Sanders said a total of 54 ODOT employees and eight turnpike authority employees have died while working on roads in the state. That is a higher number than for any other state agency workers, he said.

These agencies work hand in hand in many crises and routine situations to keep the public safe, often backing each other up when needed. To have one agency not be able to perform safely in those situations when the need arises is taking a huge public safety risk.

“I understand the concerns of some of our law enforcement officials and I share those same concerns. We do not want to use red-and-blue emergency lights any more than what is truly necessary. By reinstating the use of emergency lights by road crews in a limited manner, I believe we will fulfill our moral obligation to take care of these public employees,” Sanders said. “I appreciate everything our law enforcement officials do to keep us safe and plan to continue to support them here at the Legislature.”

House Bill 1061 now awaits consideration on the House floor.

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