The safety of road workers in Essex has come under scrutiny, with drivers being urged to slow down and obey speed limits near roadworks.
Latest figures published by Highways England – who manages the M11, M25, A12 and A120 in Essex – show there are nearly 300 incidents of abuse reported by road workers each week.
Between July 2016 and September 2017, there were 3,500 reported ‘incursions’ – vehicles breaking the law and endangering staff by driving through roadworks – of which 150 were declared ‘serious’, leading to four road workers being injured.
In Essex, highways staff recorded incidents almost daily – ranging from threats and abuse, to drivers ignoring temporary traffic lights and cones and driving through active roadworks at speed.
As a result, Essex County Council is urging members of the public to respect road workers and remember that just because workers aren’t visible, it doesn’t mean they are not present.
The council says that maintenance and improvement projects are planned to allow works to proceed in the safest and most cost-effective way, with minimum disruption to road users.
Kevin Bentley, deputy leader of Essex County Council and cabinet member for infrastructure, said: “It is very important that those who work on our roads feel both safe and respected.
“They do a valuable job building and maintaining our transport network to ensure we can all get from A to B. They certainly do not deserve to be subjected to threatening behaviour from members of the public – instances of which continue to happen.
“This is why I am supporting the introduction of CCTV, body-worn video cameras to ensure that anyone abusing our colleagues for simply doing their job will be prosecuted.
“If you witness any of our road workers being subjected to threatening behaviour, please report it to Essex Police on 101. If you have dashcam or mobile phone film, you can also pass a copy of it on to the police through the Extra Eyes website.”