Dear YouDig?

We continue our 3 part “Dear YouDig?” Series to Highlight Highway Construction Safety.

Part III:   Slow Down and Stop Texting You Drunken Fool

Dear YouDig?,

The scene is familiar. It is night in an active road construction zone. The lights are bright. The lanes are narrow. There is heavy traffic in both directions. It may be raining. Vision is difficult. The road is not smooth. Some drivers are simply speeding. Let’s be truthful–others are speeding, texting, eating, driving with their knees, singing, drunk or on drugs.

Is there a more dangerous place in our daily lives? I know there are stiff laws for drunks and druggies. But distracted driving is a conscious decision and could be even worse. How do we stop these fools?

-Too Many Dead

Dear TMD,

While the impaired driving laws have become stronger, the need to address distracted driving has fallen behind. The consequences are just as severe, but the punishment is not. Distracted driving must be treated as severely as impaired driving. It seems like common sense that a driver would be extremely careful to operate a 4,000 pound machine at high speeds alongside fellow human beings or near those working at just a glance away. The statistics and the deaths say otherwise. Nothing is more dangerous.

Ohio has tried to crack down on distracted driving but stronger proposals have failed to gain traction. It will take more tragic stories to get the full attention of the distracted legislature. It will take stronger lobbying efforts by labor unions whose workers are in harm’s way and heavy highway contractors who value safety in their work zones. Insurance companies must make a push to increase rates even further when citations for distracted driving are issued to their insured drivers. It will take an effort comparable to Mothers Against Drunk Drivers to focus equal amount of attention on distracted driving. Have a great summer TMD. Be safe out there.


John Swansinger is the author and founder of YouDig and is a partner in Buckingham, Doolittle & Burrough, LLC‘s real estate and construction practice group. He works with contractors, developers and construction owners on construction law issues including construction contracts, commercial agreements, construction litigation, subcontractor issues, insurance liability, breach of contract and more. He can be reached at or 216.615.7356.

YouDig is an online resource that connects the construction community with vital issues affecting the industry and is a component of the business law firm Buckingham, Doolittle & Burroughs, LLC that is specifically geared toward construction.