Workers, drivers both at risk in Cone Zones as roadside work increases at this time of year. Campaign kicks off with reminder that driving decisions affect lives.
The roadside is a workplace for tens of thousands of BC workers every day. And every day their work puts them at risk of injury or death – especially in spring and summer, when there are more roadside work zones. Drivers and their passengers passing through work zones in the Kootenays face similar dangers. The province wide Cone Zone campaign reminds drivers, workers, and employers that unsafe driving in roadside work zones puts people in danger. Work zones can include everything from long-term construction projects to a tow truck operator assisting a stranded driver to a moving van unloading while parked on a street.
The campaign emphasizes the need for drivers to slow down and pay attention in work zones. According to WorkSafeBC statistics, 12 roadside workers were hit by a vehicle and killed in BC from 2012 to 2021. Another 221 were injured seriously enough to have to take time off work. “Think about the workplace you go to every day. Now imagine cars and trucks whizzing by within just a few metres of you,” says Trace Acres, Program Director for Road Safety at Work and spokesperson for the 13th annual campaign. “That’s how vulnerable roadside workers are. Sometimes, orange cones are the only things separating their work site from moving vehicles weighing several tonnes.”
Roadside workers aren’t just road construction and maintenance crews. They’re also landscapers, municipal workers, tow truck operators, utility workers, emergency and enforcement personnel, and others. “Your driving decisions affect lives,” says Acres. “Every worker is someone’s parent, child, friend, neighbour, or co-worker. How you drive in work zones around the Kootenays can be the difference between them getting home safely after their shift or being injured or killed.”
Drivers and their passengers are at risk too. Going too fast, or driving distracted or aggressively, can cause rear-end collisions and other crashes. Drivers not paying attention or distracted by their phones could hit or be hit by vehicles and equipment working in the zone.
Penalties for unsafe driving in a work zone include:
- Using an electronic device while driving ($368)
- Speeding ($196 to $253)
- Disobeying a traffic control device ($121)
- Disobeying a flag person ($196)
For more tips on driving safely in a work zone visit www.ConeZoneBC.com