Teaching highway safety lesson on the roadside
Sometimes, you can talk about it until you’re exhausted and it doesn’t quite sink in, but in a second or two, a real-life illustration can drive home the point in a profound way.
Such was the case recently on a roadside at the Ada/Canyon County Line.
Richard Peryer, Tom Points, Ken Couch and a representative from Pioneer Irrigation District huddled at U.S. 20 and Can-Ada Road to inspect a pipe crossing.
As Peryer and Points continued the discussion behind their ITD truck parked on the eastbound shoulder, Points became aware of a red sedan headed their way. Fast. Points told Peryer, who had his back to traffic, to watch out.
As Peryer turned to look behind him, the car was coming to a stop, but not quickly enough to avoid Richard’s leg. Thankfully, Peryer was not injured and did not fall.
Points approached the passenger side of the vehicle. Apparently aware of her condition, the female driver said that she “was going to kill someone” and tossed her keys to Points.
Points smelled alcohol when she opened the door. It registered with him that she was intoxicated. He requested that Peryer call the Ada County Sheriff. While waiting for the officer to arrive, the driver asked for her keys back. Points declined to hand them over, saying that she was in no condition to drive and he had a safety obligation to herself and other drivers on the road.
“She never was violent or disrespectful to us,” Points explained.
Points handed over the keys to the responding officer. Peryer, Points, Couch and the irrigation district representative all signed statements detailing what they had witnessed and left the site, thankful that neither Peryer nor anyone else on the highway had been injured.
Peryer said it was a prime example of why we need to remain vigilant and not become complacent while we go about routine duties at ITD.
“I know I have preached at everyone that when we are on a project someone should always watch traffic for potential problems. Today, I was complacent and was lucky to avoid being injured.”
ITD Highway Safety Manager Brent Jennings added, “First, I am very thankful nobody on the roadway and in the group was killed or severely injured.
“Also, kudos for this brave intervention, for not giving the keys back, and for engaging law enforcement - in all likelihood it saved a life or several lives. A very big thank you on behalf of the Office of Highway Safety and for all Idahoans.”