Cases of abuse of road workers as they carry out their work have risen by 10% in 2020 despite lower traffic flows, as Highways England revealed that 6,500 vehicles have driven into roadworks over the past three years.
The news came as Highways England released a video to highlight the dangers road workers facing during the course of their duties.
CCTV footage from motorways and major A roads shows vehicles careering into roadworks sites, as well as showing how a lack of concentration can lead to drivers veering into the cones or even following roadworks vehicles into the roadworks.
As part of Road Safety Week (16-22 November), Highways England has asked road users to:
- respect road workers – slow down near road works and obey speed limits and signs.
- consider that just because workers aren’t visible, it doesn’t mean they are not present. Many operations take place at night, but also applies when visibility is restricted by works vehicles and equipment.
James Haluch, managing director at Amey Highways and chair of the group focusing on roadworker safety said: “In 2019, in Amey alone we recorded 753 vehicles driving into our road closures. Worse still, one of our roadworks vehicles are driven into every four or so months. Each one of these results in injuries to our people and it is generally the case that the physical injuries heal far quicker than the mental health ones. A few moments lapse of concentration could be life changing, please give the road your full attention, particularly through roadworks where there may be a temporary change to the road layout.”
Mark Byard, director of health and safety at Highways England said:
“We appreciate drivers get frustrated by roadworks but also that they understand the need for them, to keep families connected and the country in business. Each month we have around 175 reports of vehicles driving into roadworks, putting both road users and our roadworkers at risk. When you are driving through roadworks, please pay close attention and keep everyone safe.”
Roads minister, Baroness Vere, added: “Our road workers are key to ensuring Britain’s road network runs smoothly and keeps us connected. Careless and reckless driving not only puts them at risk, but also other road users.
“It goes without saying that when travelling through roadworks, stick to the speed limit, pay attention and respect road workers.”