Drivers have been asked to “think what it would be like if
you had to contend with lorries and cars driving through your place of work” by
Highways England as it released video footage of a reckless motorist mounting
the pavement and placing road workers’ lives at risk.
Research by Highways England has revealed a catalogue of
serious incidents and near misses ranging from motorists driving into coned off
areas where road workers are working to physical and verbal abuse as they went about
their daily jobs improving the road network. On average there are nearly 300 incidents a week of incursions and abuse
reported by road workers who are busy improving England’s 4,300 miles of
motorways and strategic A roads for the benefit of all road users.
And of almost 3,500 incidents recorded between July 2017
until September 2017, 150 were serious, leading to four road workers and two
motorists being injured.
That is why Highways England is calling on road users to be
patient if they are delayed by roadworks and to respect road workers doing a
The video showed what Highways England called “the
unacceptable behaviours that workers are faced with every day”.
In it, a driver has been stopped at the site of road works
on the A120 in Essex involving two barriers in place for drivers to be allowed
through with an escort. The driver had already driven around the initial
closure point on the wrong side of the road, then drove at speed to attempt to
avoid Essex Police who were supporting Highways England in enforcing the
closure. His actions jeopardised the lives of all those road workers on the
stretch of road between Braintree and the A12 at Marks Tey.
Another incident captured on video shows a lorry driving
through coned off roadworks on the M1.
Mike Wilson, chief highways engineer, executive director
safety, engineering and standards at Highways England said: “While we plan our
maintenance and improvement works to minimise inconvenience to drivers, some
road closures are necessary, and ultimately for the benefit of road users.
“Drivers who selfishly and illegally ignore these traffic
restrictions force their way through are putting both their lives and those of
our road workers at risk - all to save a few minutes on their journey.”
Also since October 2014, some 341 incidents of either verbal or physical abuse
towards workers were recorded across England. Amongst the most common targets
for verbal abuse are Highways England traffic officers, who patrol motorways
and A-roads 24/7. Their role is to deal with incidents as they happen and keep
people safe by implementing lane closures where required.
Highways England is reminding motorists of their
responsibility while driving through roadworks, with these four key messages:
- Respect our road workers - slow down
near road works and obey speed limits and signs.
- Just because workers aren’t visible, it
doesn’t mean they are not present. That is especially true when operations take
place at night, but also applies when visibility is restricted by works
vehicles and equipment.
- Maintenance and improvement projects are
planned to allow works to proceed in the safest and most cost-effective way, with
minimum disruption to road users.
what it would be like if you had to contend with lorries and cars driving
through your place of work.