Revealed: the abuse and risks facing Scotland’s road workers every day

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Carrying out maintenance work on Scotland’s roads isn’t the easiest job at the best of times, but a new survey has revealed the sickening behaviour from motorists directed at trunk road workers.

Close to nine in ten road workers for trunk road operating company BEAR Scotland say they have experienced dangerous driver behaviour when working on the trunk road network.

Almost three in four of respondents have witnessed motorists driving into the works safe-zone area in the past year, while 86 per cent have seen road users ignoring red lights.

It goes beyond just bad driving though; three-quarters of road workers have received verbal abuse from passing motorists in the past year.

And it gets worse, with almost a third of road workers saying they’ve been targeted by missiles being thrown towards them in the past year by passing motorists.  

Items hurled in their direction include coffee cups, eggs, foam bullets, food wrappers and banana skins; there are even reports of bottles of urine and a dirty nappy being thrown.

New campaign

To counter such gross behaviour, a road worker safety campaign has been launched to speak up for road workers in Scotland and highlight how some road users are putting workers' lives at risk.

Behind the campaign is Transport Scotland, BEAR Scotland, Scotland TranServ and AMEY in the south of Scotland.

Eddie Ross, BEAR Scotland's representative for the North West, said he understood that delays caused by roadworks were frustrating, but condemned the behaviour of a small minority of drivers as unacceptable.

“Ironically, our team during the winter are quite rightly considered to be winter heroes for keeping roads safe during snow conditions,” he commented.

“At other times, when they are trying to keep roads safe by repairing them, they are subjected to abuse.”

Ben Robb, brand manager at Dieselink, added: “There is no place for verbal or physical abuse on Scotland’s roads. Everyone should expect respect at their workplace, especially when there are so many risks at the side of a busy motorway.”