Protective measures are being supplied to Scotland’s road maintenance workers as they say that they are being put at serious risk from abusive and dangerous drivers.
BEAR Scotland, the country’s government roads agency, say that on-site teams have now been provided with CCTV vehicles, dash cams, bodycams and incursion alarms to help protect them.
It comes after 18 cases of unauthorised vehicles driving into its work sites, sometimes at speed.
Of those, 12 motorists were reported to the police and several charged, including a drunk driver and a driver who tested positive for cocaine use.
BEAR Scotland said that dangerous drivers are “playing Russian roulette with workers’ lives”.
Duncan Crilley, BEAR Scotland’s operations manager, said: “You see it every day – people jumping lights. Drivers racing through convoy set-ups, cones, and barriers.
“People should respect roadworkers. They are only doing their job. I feel relieved when my team come in and nothing has happened, they are heading home to their families. That is what drivers need to remember: drive past road workers as if they are your family – they are someone’s family.”
A 2022 road worker survey highlighted that 76% of workers have seen vehicles jump red lights at works areas while 61% have seen vehicles enter coned off work site areas.
More than half of road workers have witnessed a near-miss when an unauthorised vehicle has entered an on-site working area and 56% have seen collisions with traffic management equipment, while 13% have had objects thrown at them from moving vehicles.
Mr Crilley said: “You will always get one driver who thinks they can catch up with the convoy by breaking the speed limit and driving through the cones or barriers. One of my team got hit like this two years ago. The driver got out of his car and shouted abuse at the team.
“Drivers get abusive. They shout and swear. They throw objects at us. I have been hit by a bottle of urine before. I am thankful it wasn’t open. It caught my back and it hurt. I have also been in a digger when somebody threw an apple at me. He threw it with such force it smashed the digger’s side window.
“People need to take deep breaths. They don’t have to get there as fast as possible. They have got to realise that there are going to be roadworks. There are going to be accidents in the road. They have no right to take their temper out on our road workers.”
Sandra Wilson, BEAR Scotland’s health, safety, and risk manager, added: “It is everyone’s right to come home from work uninjured. Every day our road working teams rely on drivers making good choices. One risk can put numerous lives in danger, including that of the driver and their passengers.
“In a bid to minimise our team’s risks, we have implemented the use of the latest technology. Our on-site teams now have a variety of CCTV vehicles, dash cams, bodycams and incursion alarms to help protect them.
“This also allows us to provide police with evidence where necessary. We hope that, if the public is increasingly aware these measures are in place, it will deter them from taking risks around roadworks and playing Russian roulette with workers’ lives.”