‘Worker Memorial Day’

ROCHESTER, Minn. – They fix roads in the summer and the clear the snow and ice off of them in the winter. The job for department of transportation workers never seems to end, but it is a job that can be dangerous too.

Some in southern Minnesota are remembering those who have fallen in the line of duty and reminding us how we can do our part from preventing that from happening in the future.

It was a normal winter night of work for Loren Tews. The roads were not very good and it was his job to clean them up. But that night someone took those roads a little too fast.

“It happened very quick, unexpectedly, and thank God that they were okay,” Tews said.

The snow plow he was driving was hit head on by an oncoming vehicle. Things like that do not happen every day for DOT workers, but almost.

“It seems like almost every time that we plow we have a close call one way or another,” Tews said.

In his case, both parties were fine, but that is not how it always works.

MnDOT leaders are using the day to remember those who have lost their lives and reminding drivers about the law that aims to make sure it does not happen anymore. It is called the “Ted Foss Move Over Law.”

“Each vehicle passing has to move over a lane and slow down. If it’s not possible to move over that lane, at least slow down as you’re going by to make it safer for those workers on the side of the road,” said Lt. Christina Bogojevic of the Minnesota State Patrol.

Foss was hit and killed on the shoulder of Interstate 90 near Winona in 2000. The law was put in place shortly after that, but Bogojevic said that there are still too many close calls.

“It still seems like too many, one is too many every year. That includes all law enforcement, DOT workers, paramedics, firefighters on the side of the road, tow truck drivers,” Bogojevic said.

Teus said the changes to the law have helped for the most part.

“There’s still a few out there that, not sure why or what, that come pretty close,” Tews said.

The penalty for violating the Ted Foss law can exceed a $100 fine. Those also double in construction zones.

Maintenance workers just ask that you give them space and let them do their jobs safely.

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