Scottish road workers say their lives are at risk from dangerous drivers

Maintenance workers on some of Scotland’s busiest roads have warned that their lives are being put at risk by the dangerous and abusive behaviour of drivers.

Road workers have warned of numerous 'near misses' due to drivers entering roadwork areas.
Road workers have warned of numerous 'near misses' due to drivers entering roadwork areas.

Nearly one in three trunk road workers say they have been forced to dodge missiles thrown from cars, including bottles full of urine, metal cans and eggs.

More than half of staff across Scotland’s three trunk road operating firms said they only narrowly avoided being struck by vehicles which wrongly entered areas where essential repair and maintenance work was taking place.

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The damning results from the Roadworkers Safety survey has drawn condemnation of abusive drivers, with the RAC describing the findings as “shocking”.

The survey shows that some 70 per cent of staff working on key road routes were endangered by dangerous drivers, or subjected to verbal physical abuse, with 52 per cent reporting a “near miss” with cars mistakenly entering works areas.

Some 31 per cent of those surveyed said they had missiles thrown at them in the past year by passing motorists, including plastic bottles, apple cores, eggs, juice cans and even bottles of urine.

The survey of nearly 400 workers also shows that 69 per cent of staff witnessed road users ignoring red lights at roadworks. The survey was carried out by BEAR Scotland, Scotland TranServ and Amey as part of a campaign in conjunction with Transport Scotland to promote workers’ rights.

In an attempt to counter the negative driver behaviours flagged up by staff, CCTV systems have been deployed at some road work sites, with additional signs installed at some locations to try to address the abuse and unsafe behaviour.

Eddie Ross, a spokesman for BEAR Scotland, which covers key routed in the north-west and north-east of Scotland, said: “We understand that no one likes to be held up; however the behaviour of a small minority of road users is completely unacceptable. No one should have to experience unsafe or reckless behaviour in their workplace.

“It is extremely disappointing to see the level of abuse and negative driver behaviour our teams have faced in the past year when they are doing their job in carrying out essential works to keep the trunk roads running safely.”

Simon Williams, a road safety spokesman for the RAC, urged witnesses to such behaviour to call the police.

He said: “Those working to fix and improve our roads deserve our respect rather than the shocking abuse many are often subjected to. Anyone who abuses road workers, either physically or verbally, should be reported to the police.”