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Widow of ALDOT worker shares heartbreaking story

The widow of a construction worker killed on I-65 shares story of her husband's death and advocates for work zone safety.

The widow of a construction worker killed in the Tennessee Valley is sharing her story.

Somer Smith’s husband was killed April 14, 2016 on I-65.

Smith is pushing National Work Zone Awareness Week as efforts continue to get work zone fatalities down to zero.

“I am standing here today because my husband was the victim of someone else’s careless behavior, ” said Somer Smith. 

Almost a year to this date, Jake Smith, an ALDOT worker, was killed on I-65 near Priceville.

He was out working in a construction area.

“My twins are very young and they unfortunately will not remember their father, ” said Smith. 

Smith’s wife Somer and his parents are now advocates for workers out daily risking their lives on roadways.

“If I wanted to make a legacy for my husband, it would be to save more people’s lives, ” said Smith. 

April 3-7 is National Work Zone Awareness Week.

The Alabama Department of Transportation is bringing attention to work zone injuries and fatalities.

Down from 31 deaths in 2015, 14 deaths were reported in 2016.
ALDOT is pushing to get that number to zero.

“As we try to make roadways safe for the traveling public, we would like that same respect, ” said Cedric McNeill. 

Cedric McNeill has been with ALDOT for 10 years and deals with the dangers daily.

“They are mindful of the workers that are there as we are trying to make the roads safe for the motorists, ” said McNeill. 

Currently legislation is being reviewed to increase work zone safety.

Under current law, there is no specific crime for the injury or death to a highway worker in a construction zone.

The Move-Over law is also being reviewed to create harsher punishments for offenders.

“I would love to stand behind that legislation and get it changed so that we’re all protected and we can get justice for all of our workers that are hurt, ” said Somer Smith. 

This year’s National Work Zone Awareness week theme is “Work Zone Safety Is In Your Hands.”