Sarina Hanschke of the B.C. Construction Safety Alliance’s traffic control program has a simple message for drivers following a collision last week with a flagger: slow down.
“Lower you speed and what you do is force all of the other people behind you who might not be paying attention and just looking at the tail lights in front of them to slow down as well,” she said, adding that public engagement is the key to putting an end to incidents like these.
Last week’s collision occured just after noon near the Sooke and Luxton roads intersection.
Initial reports from witnesses indicated that the flagger was attempting to stop a vehicle travelling in the eastbound lane when she was struck by a small, grey hatchback.
— West Shore RCMP (@WestshoreRCMP) June 8, 2017
The impact of the collision sent both the vehicle and the flagger into a ditch.
Emergency personnel attended the scene and facilitated the rescue of the flagger who was immediately transported to hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
“This incident is a reminder to all motorists to take extra caution in construction zones and highway projects where flaggers and work crews are working,” stated Cpl. Chris Dovell of the West Shore RCMP.
Show some respect to our roadside workers and please SLOW DOWN out there! https://t.co/k0ATTAB5rV
— Carol Hamilton (@carolhamilton05) June 8, 2017
The collision is under investigation by West Shore RCMP and WorkSafe B.C.
Hanschke noted that while workers are responsible for ‘traffic control,’ the name is a bit misleading.
“Roadside workers are at the mercy of the general public. We call it traffic control but at the end of the day we can only really guide traffic through the zone,” she said.
She added that commuters giving themselves extra time to get to work during the summer construction season can help by decreasing the stress-level for drivers who experience delays.
According to statistics from WorkSafe B.C., 15 roadside workers were killed and 229 were injured as a result of being hit by a motor vehicle between 2007 and 2016.
The province introduced its Slow Down and Move Over legislation in 2015, mandating drivers slow and change lanes for all stopped vehicles with flashing lights, which includes police, fire, ambulance, tow trucks, construction crews and other roadside personnel. Drivers who fail to do so may receive a $173 fine and three penalty points.