Increased summer traffic poses concern for roadside workers

Roadside workers at risk

Increased traffic on roads due to summer travel and the province's reopening creates an increased risk for roadside workers in the Okanagan.

"Roadside work is a dangerous job,” said Louise Yako, program director for Road Safety at Work.

“With regional travel restrictions lifted and more activity on roads, we all need to do our part when driving to make sure roadside workers make it home to their family at the end of their shift without injury.”

Between 2011 and 2020, 12 roadside workers were killed and 207 were injured resulting in time loss in B.C. Last year, 23 workers were injured because of being hit by a motor vehicle.

“One of the greatest risks to a roadside worker in the Okanagan is a motor vehicle being driven through their workplace,” says Yako.

“Dangerous behaviour like speeding and distracted driving puts workers at risk – and drivers too.”

According to Yako roadside worksites involve hundreds of activities, not just road construction.

“Anyone who works alongside or on roads in close proximity to traffic is considered a roadside worker.”

This includes municipal workers, landscapers, flag people, tow truck drivers, road maintenance crews, telecommunications and utility workers, and emergency and enforcement personnel.

“And each one of them is someone’s parent, friend, neighbour, and work colleague,” Yako adds.

The awareness campaign encourages people to practise safe driving behaviour in Cone Zones, which are work areas set up to alert drivers that roadside workers are on site.

So what should drivers do when approaching a Cone Zone?

“Slow down and leave your phone alone,” says Yako. “Pay attention to temporary road signs, traffic cones, and directions given by traffic control persons.”

Tickets for driving infractions in Cone Zones can be costly.

If you are caught using an electronic device while driving could see a fine up to $368.

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