New Road Worker Safety Campaign launched

4 June 2018

New campaign launched to highlight abuse and dangerous driving and its impact on road workers in Scotland

  • Survey reveals instances of bottles, rubbish, foam bullets and bottles of urine thrown at workforce by passing road users.
  • More than 85% of road workers in north of Scotland have experienced dangerous driver behaviour when working on the trunk road network

Over 85% of trunk road workers across Scotland had their lives put at risk by motorists’ dangerous driving behaviour or are subjected to verbal or physical abuse, a new survey has revealed.

Trunk Road Operating Companies BEAR Scotland, Scotland TranServ and Amey are launching a road worker safety campaign in conjunction with Transport Scotland to speak up for road workers in Scotland.

The campaign has been created to highlight the unsafe, reckless and anti-social behaviour of some road users which is putting workers lives at risk, as well as the abuse that the teams experience from passing motorists – often on a daily basis. 

It comes on the back of a survey among employees into the levels of unsafe driver behaviour and abuse that teams have experienced in the past year.

The survey includes reports of:

  • Drivers ignoring red lights and temporary traffic signals at road works – A vast majority (83%) of those surveyed have experienced road users ignoring red lights.
  • Drivers entering coned-off works – Over 70% of respondents have experienced private vehicles entering the works safe-zone area in the past year.
  • Verbal abuse from motorists – Nearly three-quarters (73%) of employees have received verbal abuse from passing motorists in the past year.
  • Missiles thrown towards workforce – One out of three road workers experienced missiles being thrown towards them in the past year by passing motorists. This included bottles of juice, coffee cups, eggs, foam bullets, food wrappers and banana skins – as well as reports of bottles of urine and even a dirty nappy being thrown.
  • Threats and intimidation – a number of instances were reported of threatening behaviour being made to road workers manning road closure points

Scotland’s Trunk Road Operating Companies are calling on road users to be patient and respect the work force who are carrying out essential road maintenance.  Throughout the two-week campaign BEAR, Amey and Transerv will look to highlight some of the statistics and real-life accounts and experiences from their teams in partnership with Transport Scotland. 

Tom Wallace, on behalf of Amey in the South East and Forth Bridges said:

“No one should have to put up with this sort of behaviour in their place of work. It’s time we called out those motorists who drive recklessly, unsafely and ultimately put lives at risk just to save a few minutes.  Roadworks are our employees workplace; you wouldn’t dream about driving your vehicle through an office or a factory, so why do we suffer so many instances of vehicles entering roadworks.

"Respect our workforce – kill your speed, not a roadworker.”

Eddie Ross, on behalf of BEAR Scotland covering the North West of Scotland said:

“We understand that no one likes being held up at roadworks and we try hard to minimise disruption as much as possible. However, the behaviour of a small minority of passing drivers is unacceptable.  Ironically, our team during the winter are, quite rightly, considered to be winter heroes for keeping roads safe during snow conditions. At other times, when they are trying to keep roads safe by repairing them, they are subjected to abuse.

Andy Thompson, BEAR Scotland’s representative for the North East of Scotland said:

“We rely on our employees to keep our motorways and other trunk roads safe every day. From repairing potholes to cutting grass, replacing lighting to attending incidents.  There is no place for verbal or physical abuse, jumping red lights or speeding through roadworks past workers undertaking essential tasks.  Everyone is entitled to respect at work, no matter where their place of work is.”

Andy Fraser, Scotland TranServ’s Operating Company Representative said:

“More than two-thirds of our employees work on the trunk roads in the south west of Scotland every day. Their accounts of dangerous driving and the missiles thrown at them are chilling. Our operatives are real people, with real families; families who want their partners and parents to come home safely at the end of the working day.”

Look out for the campaign hashtag on social media - #RoadworkerSafety – to help spread the word in June.

ENDS

Notes to Editors:

  • What locations in Scotland do the survey respondents cover?

Respondents were located across trunk roads in the four operating company units in Scotland.  This included the north west and north east areas of Scotland which are managed and maintained by BEAR Scotland, the south west by Scotland Transerv and the south east by Amey

  • How many road workers contributed to the survey’s findings?

The survey results were compiled from 364 respondents across BEAR Scotland, Scotland Transerv and Amey.   

  • Amey delivers engineering design and operational delivery services for Scotland’s South East Trunk Roads Network. These services include the design and delivery of major road and bridge maintenance work, as well as inspections to ensure the routes remain safe and well maintained. Amey carry out salting, snow clearing and gully cleaning as well as the repair of motorway lighting and traffic signals. The South-East Trunk Roads Network covers over 550 miles of road through central Scotland, including the Lothians and Scottish Borders, the Edinburgh City Bypass and a long stretch of the M8 motorway that connects the country’s capital to Glasgow.
  • Scotland TranServ, a joint venture between Balfour Beatty and Mouchel, provides a broad range of roads management and maintenance services on behalf of Transport Scotland ensuring that South West Scotland’s motorways and trunk roads are fit for the future. Our network spans over 600km of motorways and trunk roads from Balloch to Stranraer and includes over 1,500 structures including the Erskine and Kingston Bridges. For further information please visit scotlandtranserv.co.uk
  • BEAR Scotland manages and maintains the trunk roads in the North East and North West of Scotland including over 2,000km of trunk road and over 3,000 structures, on behalf of Transport Scotland. www.transportscotland.gov.uk