Baroness Vere has urged caution to protect road workers.
Around 6,500 drivers have crashed into motorway roadworks in three years, according to the organisation in charge of England’s strategic road network. That’s the equivalent of 175 accidents occurring every month, leading roads minister Baroness Vere to urge drivers to take care through roadworks.
The baroness said motorists should be extra careful when driving through roadworks to avoid putting road workers and other drivers at risk. She said workers were “key” to keeping traffic moving, and drivers should help protect them by paying attention and sticking to speed limits through roadworks.
“Our road workers are key to ensuring Britain’s road network runs smoothly and keeps us connected,” she said. “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.”
The message coincides with Road Safety Week, which runs between November 16 and 22, and Highways England has released CCTV footage of accidents in motorway roadworks. The footage shows vehicles careering into roadworks, racing onto closed roads and even aggressively grabbing road workers.
However, the footage also shows some unfortunate incidents, including a motorist punted into the roadworks by a truck and a driver absent-mindedly following a highway maintenance truck into the coned-off lane.
Mark Byard, director of health and safety at Highways England said he understood the frustrations of motorway roadworks, but urged motorists to “pay close attention”.
“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,” he said. “Each month we have around 175 reports of vehicles driving into roadworks, putting both road users and our road workers at risk. When you are driving through roadworks, please pay close attention and keep everyone safe.”
And James Haluch, managing director of Amey Highways and chair of the group focusing on road worker safety, said roughly three road works vehicles were crashed into every year.
“In 2019, in Amey alone we recorded 753 vehicles driving into our road closures,” he said. “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.”