The 10th-grade students at the New England Laborers’/Cranston Public Schools Construction & Career Academy were recently presented with a certification in work zone safety during a press conference held at the academy.
The students completed a 10-hour course created by the New England Laborers’ Health and Safety Fund over a period of 10 weeks. Additionally, the students participated in a slogan contest, with the winning entry to be used by the Rhode Island Department of Transportation.
Present for the press conference were Armand Sabitoni, Jay Sabitoni and Chris Sabitoni of the Laborers’ International Union of North America; Ray Coia, Bree Sabitoni and John Anatone, of the NELHSF; RIDOT Director Peter Alviti; Cranston Superintendent Jeannine Nota-Masse; NEL/CPS Director Dennis Curran and Academic Dean of Admissions Carolyn Ferris; and Michael Traficante, a member of the Cranston School Committee and the NEL/CPS Board of Directors.
Curran emphasized that safety in work zones is of paramount importance and spoke of the value of the certification program. He also thanked RIDOT for keeping the public aware of work zones statewide so that drivers can be safe and responsible.
According to Bree Sabitoni and John Anatone, who ran the 10 classes, the program was aimed at the 10th-grade students because they are in the process of getting their driver’s permits and licenses.
Anatone noted that in 2017, there were 158,000 crashes and 61,000 injuries from work zone accidents in the United States. Those accidents resulted in 799 fatalities, including 667 motorists and 132 workers.
“In Rhode Island, the 2018 statistics were just as somber,” Anatone said. “Our tiny state saw 756 work zone crashes and 22 injuries, with three of them listed as severe and life-altering.”
Awareness is key, according to Bree Sabitoni, and it is the hope of all involved that the program will continue in the future.
“We want to make them aware of what to do in a work zone. A lot of them will be heading into the Laborers’ program and will be working in work zones,” she said. “Even if they’re not, we still want them to be aware.”
The topics covered in the 10 one-hour sessions included things such as seatbelt safety, speeding, reaction time and stopping distance at elevated speeds, texting and driving, distracted driving, and cell phone usage.
Alviti emphasized the collaboration that took place as part of the course, and Nota-Masse thanked Armand Sabitoni, Alviti and the entire staff of the charter school for their efforts.
“The training that these students received is critical to their safety, but it will also save lives of the folks we have doing the very important work in our state on the roads and bridges,” she said.
Alviti announced the slogan contest winners and each was recognized individually.
The third-place winner, with the slogan, “If you don’t want a ticket, then click it,” was Domenic Marchetti. The second-place winner with the slogan, “Fireworks? Yes. Barbecue? Yes. Drunk Driving? No,” was Daniel Roca.
The first-place winner, with the slogan, “Get off your phone someone needs you at home,” was David Santos.
Each winner received a gift certificate to Work ’N Gear and their slogan was shown on the jumbo screen.