The Department for Infrastructure (DFI) and Mineral Products Association (MPANI) are appealing to all road users to respect the safety of road workers by slowing down at road works and abiding by all temporary traffic signs and lights.
Hundreds of workers carry out essential improvements to our roads across Northern Ireland every day, yet in recent years, a number of road workers have been injured after being struck by vehicles driven by members of the public who disregarded stop signs and unlawfully drove through a road closure.
Andrew Murray, Deputy Secretary at the Department for Infrastructure said:
“The Department takes the safety of its employees, contractors and utility workers very seriously. Road workers are there to improve our journeys by carrying out essential work on carriageways and to ensure that essential services are available to homes and businesses by working on the utility equipment which lies beneath the roads. They should be permitted to carry out these duties without fear of injury or abuse.
“The Department tries to keep roads open as much as possible while work is carried out but this can only be done with the co-operation of road users.
“Traffic controls are put in place for everyone’s safety and by ignoring speed restrictions, stop signs and coned areas you are not just risking the life of road workers but you are also putting yourself and others in danger.”
Gordon Best, Regional Director of MPANI which represents road maintenance companies contracted to DfI said:
“Road operatives do an incredible job often working in close proximity to live traffic that is too often passing at excessive speed. In addition they regularly work unsociable hours, in difficult weather conditions and poor light, to complete jobs so the public can have smoother journeys and better services.
“These men and women deserve to carry out their duties without fear for their safety so I would appeal to all road users to show respect, slow down and help protect the lives of our workforce.”
The appeal is being supported by the PSNI who are reminding road users of the law around driving through or near road works.
Inspector Rosie Leech MBE explained:
“The Police Service of Northern Ireland treat breaches of temporary speed limits in the same way as other permanent speed limits.
“During the last two years we have issued over 1,100 fixed penalties to road users breaching temporary speed limits, which carry a £60 fine and three penalty points. For those motorists who disregard ‘Road Closed’ signs we have a range of options available, from Fixed Penalty through to prosecution for Careless Driving.
“Considering that inappropriate speed for the conditions is still the single biggest cause of collisions which kill and seriously injure people on roads across Northern Ireland, breaking temporary speed limits though roadworks, particularly where contractors are working in close proximity to traffic, is incredibly dangerous and will not be tolerated.
”At major roadwork sites the lane alignment, road layout and temporary surfaces can change regularly, so it is absolutely critical that motorists drive at a safe speed for the prevailing conditions of the carriageway. There can be no justification for breaking these temporary speed limits day or night, whether there appears to be work ongoing or not.
“All road users must realise that speed and other temporary restrictions are not there to inconvenience them but to make our roads safer for everyone.”
The Department will be issuing a series of social media posts throughout week commencing 25 March to remind us all of our responsibilities.
Further guidance on how to drive near road works is set out in the Highway Code and available at https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/road-works-level-crossings-and-tramways-288-307.
Notes to editors:
- All media queries should be directed to the Department for Infrastructure Press Office on 028 9054 0007 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Out of hours please contact the duty press officer on 028 9037 8110.
- Follow the Department on Twitter @deptinfra and on Facebook @DepartmentforInfrastructure.
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