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New campaign launched to highlight abuse and dangerous driving and its impact on road workers in Scotland04 Jun 2018


More than 85% of road workers in north of Scotland have experienced dangerous driver behaviour when working on the trunk road network


Survey reveals instances of bottles, rubbish, foam bullets and bottles of urine thrown at workforce by passing road users.


Over 85% of trunk road workers across the north of Scotland had their lives put at risk by motorists’ dangerous driving behaviour or are subjected to verbal or physical abuse, a new survey has revealed. 

Trunk Road Operating Company BEAR Scotland, along with Scotland TranServ and AMEY in the south of Scotland, are launching a road worker safety campaign in conjunction with Transport Scotland to speak up for road workers in Scotland. 

The campaign has been created to highlight the unsafe, reckless and anti-social behaviour of some road users which is putting workers lives at risk, as well as the abuse that the teams experience from passing motorists – often on a daily basis.  

It comes on the back of a survey among employees into the levels of unsafe driver behaviour and abuse that teams have experienced in the past year.  BEAR Scotland, who manage and maintain trunk roads in the north of Scotland, carried out a survey of their own teams.

The BEAR Scotland survey includes reports of: 


Drivers ignoring red lights and temporary traffic signals at road works – A vast majority (86%) of those surveyed have experienced road users ignoring red lights.

Drivers entering coned-off works – Over 73% of respondents have experienced  motorists entering the works safe-zone area in the past year.

Verbal abuse from motorists – Three-quarters (75%) of employees have received verbal abuse from passing motorists in the past year.

Missiles thrown towards workforce – Nearly one out of three road workers experienced missiles being thrown towards them in the past year by passing motorists.   This included bottles of juice, coffee cups, eggs, foam bullets, food wrappers and banana skins – as well as reports of bottles of urine and even a dirty nappy being thrown.

Threats and intimidation – a number of instances were reported of threatening behaviour being made to road workers manning road closure points.


Scotland’s Trunk Road Operating Companies are calling on road users to be patient and respect the work force who are carrying out essential road maintenance.  Throughout the two-week campaign BEAR Scotland, as well as Amey and Transerv in the south of Scotland, will look to highlight some of the statistics and real-life accounts and experiences from their teams in partnership with Transport Scotland. 

Eddie Ross, on behalf of BEAR Scotland covering the North West of Scotland said: 

“We understand that no one likes being held up at roadworks and we try hard to minimise disruption as much as possible. However, the behaviour of a small minority of passing drivers is unacceptable.  Ironically, our team during the winter are, quite rightly, considered to be winter heroes for keeping roads safe during snow conditions. At other times, when they are trying to keep roads safe by repairing them, they are subjected to abuse.”

Andy Thompson, BEAR Scotland’s representative for the North East of Scotland said:

“We rely on our employees to keep our motorways and other trunk roads safe every day. From repairing potholes to cutting grass, replacing lighting to attending incidents.  There is no place for verbal or physical abuse, jumping red lights or speeding through roadworks past workers undertaking essential tasks.  Everyone is entitled to respect at work, no matter where their place of work is.”

Dale Barron, a Senior Operative (Chargehand) in the North East Unit, has been working on trunk roads every day for the past ten years.

“We frequently see people not paying attention and ignoring the advanced warning signs on approach to our sites.  The worst incident that has happened to me was last year on the A90 when I was in a stationary piece of machinery within the safe work zone.   A lorry entered the works area and shunted the side of my vehicle, breaking off the mirror and throwing it forwards, then – remarkably – kept on driving.  Thankfully no one was injured.  If one of the guys had been walking past the digger when the lorry came into the site, he would have been hit.   That sort of thing doesn’t leave you, it’s in the back of my mind every time I’m out on site.”

Calum Farquharson is a Graduate Engineer for BEAR Scotland, working in the North West Unit.  He described his experiences as part of the campaign.

“We get people shouting things, swearing at us, blasting their horns, hand gestures…you end up just getting used to it.   

“People jump red lights every single time I’m out on site. I’ve seen drivers accelerate to the lights when they see them switch to amber, speeding past a 30mph sign first, then past a 10mph sign, then straight through the red light.  So frequently you’ll get drivers entering the 10mph works area at over 50mph because they’re accelerating to try and catch up.  Once one of our operatives was moving a cone within the work zone and he had to throw himself onto the verge to miss a speeding driver who had jumped the light – all so the driver could avoid waiting five minutes.”

BEAR Scotland is calling on motorists to respect their workforce. 

Look out for the campaign hashtag on social media - #RoadworkerSafety – to help spread the word in June.


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