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Vancouver Police Department partners with WorkSafeBC to protect flaggers

By COS staff
| www.cos-mag.com

The Vancouver Police Department (VPD) is going undercover as traffic control persons in partnership with WorkSafeBC, to protect traffic controllers working on Vancouver streets.

Road construction is a reality in the city as engineers work to improve traffic flow and infrastructure. With that construction comes an increased likelihood that drivers will experience traffic disruption and delays.

Traffic controllers are extremely vulnerable and put themselves in harm’s way on a daily basis, protected by nothing more than reflective clothing and a traffic control sign.

Unfortunately, every year WorkSafeBC sees traffic controllers hit by vehicles that are operated by inattentive, aggressive and distracted drivers. Between 2008 and 2012, 51 flaggers were hit and injured by motor vehicles while on the job, and nearly sixty per cent of those collisions resulted in serious injuries. In that same time period, three traffic controllers were killed. Unfortunately in November of this year, there was another life needlessly lost as a result of an on-the-job traffic fatality, said WorkSafeBC.  

Drivers are urged to pay close attention to traffic controllers and be patient when driving through construction zones. Controllers are responsible for keeping traffic flowing, and ensuring the safety of construction workers, drivers, and others using the roadway.

“On a daily basis, mothers, fathers, sons, and daughters risk their own safety to get you to your destination, as safely and efficiently as possible,” said VPD inspector Les Yeo. “Slow down in construction zones, stay off your phone, and pay attention to traffic controllers.”

“These workers are responsible for keeping traffic moving smoothly through construction zones to ensure the safety of on-site workers and the commuting public. They deserve the respect and attention of drivers,” says Al Johnson, WorkSafeBC vice-president, prevention services.

As of Dec. 12, VPD officers have been stepping up enforcement around construction zones and handing out tickets for speeding, distracted, and aggressive driving.

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