Roadside workers inside a Cone Zone next to traffic. (Submitted photo)

Cone Zone: Busier roads put workers at greater risk in Parksville Qualicum Beach

Motorists driving dangerously or disobeying traffic controllers can face hefty fines

Increased traffic on roads due to summer travel and the province’s re-opening creates an increased risk for roadside workers in the Parksville Qualicum Beach area.

“Roadside work is a dangerous job,” said Louise Yako, program director for Road Safety at Work and spokesperson for the 11th annual province-wide Cone Zone awareness campaign. “With regional travel restrictions lifted and more activity on roads, we all need to do our part when driving to make sure roadside workers make it home to their family at the end of their shift without injury.”

She said one of the greatest risks to a roadside worker is a motor vehicle being driven through their workplace, and that dangerous behaviour like speeding and distracted driving puts workers at even greater risk.

READ MORE: Drivers can expect to see more road crews in Parksville Qualicum Beach

Between 2011 and 2020, 12 roadside workers were killed and 207 were injured resulting in time loss in B.C.

Last year, 23 workers were injured because of being hit by a motor vehicle.

According to Yako, roadside worksites involve hundreds of activities and not just road construction, including anyone working alongside or in close proximity to traffic.

“And each one of them is someone’s parent, friend, neighbour, and work colleague.”

The awareness campaign encourages people to practise safe driving behaviour in Cone Zones, which are work areas set up to alert drivers that roadside workers are on site. Cone Zones help protect workers and drivers from injury or death and often use distinctive orange cones or reflective triangles.

Tickets for driving infractions in Cone Zones can be costly; if caught using an electronic device while driving, the driver can face a $368; if caught speeding in a Cone Zone, or disobeying a flag person, the driver can face a fine of $196 and above; and if caught disobeying a traffic control device, the driver can face a fine of $121.

– NEWS Staff, submitted

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