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Drivers Putting Roadside Workers’ Lives at Risk in British Columbia

October 18, 2017 | Catastrophic Injuries

Over the summer, the BC Automobile Association undertook a survey of drivers to determine driver habits at roadside construction zones. The study unleashed some disturbing results, suggesting that roadside workers continue to face danger from distracted, speeding motorists.

Increased Risk of Accidents in Construction Zones

Between July 13 and July 19, 2017, the BCAA polled 803 drivers about what they observed on highways.

Approximately 79 percent of drivers reported observing other motorists slowing down as they passed construction sites. Rather than observing the posted driving speed, these motorists were rubbernecking out of curiosity to see what was going on at the construction site.

43 percent of motorists surveyed reported noticing other drivers change lanes abruptly, perhaps to get away from the construction zone. While this may alleviate workers’ exposure to risk, changing lanes with no warning could cause a car crash.

48 percent of those surveyed reported drivers speeding by the construction scene, a move that puts work crews at increased risk. Most troublingly, 46 percent of drivers surveyed reported watching other drivers get too close to the construction zone, which places workers at risk of being struck.

Over the last decade, 240 workers have been hit by vehicles in construction zones. Fifteen of these workers have died as a result of their injuries.

What is “Slow Down, Move Over,” the B.C. Law in Construction Zones?

The survey showed that most drivers were not following provincial law regarding driver behavior in construction zones. In fact, 84 percent of drivers surveyed did not know all aspects of the “Slow Down, Move Over” law and 64 percent of drivers believed that other motorists knew the law, yet chose to ignore it.

As a reminder, drivers should:

  • Always slow down or move over when there is a vehicle with flashing red, yellow, or blue lights on the side of the road
  • Move from the right lane into the centre (or left lane if you’re on a multi-lane roadway) and it is safe to do so
  • Slow down from 80 km/h to 70 km/h when the posted speed is 80 km/h or more
  • Slow to 40 km/h or under when the posted speed is less than 80 km/h

Failure to comply with this law could lead to a fine of $173, plus three demerits. This could lead to your being unable to drive, if you have other demerits.

Remember that roadside workers are doing their job to make the roadways safe or help a stranded motorist, and want to get home to their families at the end of the day. When you see signs warning of roadside constructions or notice a tow truck by the side of the road, remember to slow down and move over — this could save a life!

Speak With a BC Personal Injury Attorney

If you or a loved one was struck by a motorist who failed to observe the Slow Down, Move Over law, speak with a personal injury lawyer in Vancouver who is accepting new clients now. The attorneys at Warnett Hallen LLP have over a decade of experience in fighting for the rights of personal injury victims, including victims of roadside accidents. Learn more about the attorneys’ experience with personal injury cases or reach out for a free consultation 24/7: 604-737-3300.

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