Put yourself in the shoes of roadside workers – that’s the message from highway maintenance company Amey, who are calling for drivers to slow down after research revealed that 59 per cent of drivers admit to driving dangerously through road works.
Amey shared two videos to highlight the issue. One, created by workers on the Forth Road Bridge using a dummy as well as the above, more unsettling, footage showing the aftermath of an accident involving Amey employee Derek Burns.
Mr Burns suffered cuts, bruising and whiplash after a lorry crashed into his stationary work vehicle last April. He was off work for eight weeks following the incident and has received counselling as part of his recovery.
Such incidents are sadly not a rare occurrence and, since 2017, over 210 incidents were reported by the company’s UK employees and the number of accidental incursions (where drivers accidentally enter roadworks) for the same period reached close to 5,500.
Across the UK, 74 per cent admit to exceeding speed limits set to protect those working at these sites.
Scottish participants were either more honest, or more reckless, as 77 per cent admit to exceeding the speed limit.
However, the overall majority of those questioned (87 per cent) also acknowledged that being a road worker is a dangerous occupation.
The figures, which come from a survey of 2,015 British drivers who use motorways more than five times per year, was carried out on behalf of Amey by Opinion Matters in November 2018.
‘Working on our roads is a very dangerous job’
James Haluch, Managing Director for Highways at Amey, said: “It’s extremely concerning that so many drivers appear to be wilfully ignoring safety advice, and driving without due care through roadworks; especially when they acknowledge that working on our roads is a very dangerous job.
“I am only too aware of the suffering of those who are injured, or killed, while simply doing their job. In many cases, even if the physical injuries heal, the trauma remains in some form, changing their lives and that of their families forever.
#TuesdayThoughts – did you know that 59% of motorists admit to driving dangerously through roadworks? We’re fighting to change road worker safety with our Vision 2030. https://t.co/vrC6Tzee1w pic.twitter.com/Bh8pQSfGfZ— Amey (@Ameyplc) March 26, 2019
“This research illustrates that road users need to reflect on their behaviour when driving through roadworks to consider the impact on road workers across the UK. I appreciate this is a significant challenge and may take years to achieve, but we need to keep the conversation going to make changes – our people have the right to return home to friends and family safe and well at the end of the day.”
Chief Executive for Highways Term Maintenance Association (HTMA), George Lee welcomed the research: “We know that Britain’s roads are some of the busiest in the world. In terms of overall road safety, current national figures show casualties are at their lowest level for over 40 years – however overall injuries to the 4,000 road workers on the network has risen.
“The research Amey has carried out highlights the problem of driver behaviour and their attitudes to road workers, that is increasing in its form and severity. Highways services people are dealing with danger on a daily basis but to then have to contend with the public whom they are working to keep safe is hugely disconcerting.
Mr Haluch said authorities should consider new and innovative ways of tackling the problem of drivers putting roadside workers at risk and pointed to HTMA’s Vision 2030 strategy, which seeks to address building a safer environment for road workers and road users.
Vision 2030 was developed to address road worker and road user safety, as part of a comprehensive programme to boost productivity, increase technological innovation, improve efficiency and promote greater diversity across the UK highways industry.
The vision outlines the need to increase automation and digital technologies, supported by a broader range of skills, to help create a safer working environment for UK road workers and the travelling public. By working collaboratively with clients, supply chain and industry organisations, Vision 2030 is focused on developing industry-wide solutions that benefit all.
A version of this story was originally published on Scotsman.com