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Council General Managers put Road Safety in the Spotlight

23 September 2014

General Managers along the North West coast are concerned about ongoing reports of motorists ignoring warning signs, speeding through road works and putting their workers at risk of serious injury.

“It is known that at least three Councils have contacted police in the past two weeks expressing concern regarding motorists speeding through work zones,” Circular Head General Manager Tony Smart said.

“Drivers need to put themselves in the shoes of our workers on the road sites who experience not only the dangers from speeding, but at times the verbal abuse whilst they are only carrying out the works to improve driving conditions for all.

“Accept our plea to drive at the designated speeds when travelling through road works.”

Burnie City Council General Manager Andrew Wardlaw said road works undertaken on our public roads are work sites and the safety of workers was a serious matter.

“In my time in Local Government a common complaint from Council workers is that they have experienced a near miss due to drivers being inattentive to roadwork signage, and in recent years there have been fatalities in roadwork sites in Tasmania,” Mr Wardlaw said.

“The signage is there to ensure that motorists travel to the modified speed reduction measures that have been assessed as necessary to manage the hazards that have been identified for the site.”

Mr Wardlaw said the message was simple.

“Slow down and observe the traffic management measures for the safety of the workers and the community,” Mr Wardlaw said.

“If you are speeding, answering your phone, tuning the radio, sending a text or not fully in control, you put yourself and workers at risk.”    

Waratah-Wynyard Acting General Manager John Martin said a fatality of a road worker last year in Launceston was in an area restricted to 40kmh.

“This highlights the danger that our workers are being exposed to and why motorists need to adhere to warning signs and to slow down,” Mr Martin said.

“Many people think that they are seriously inconvenienced when having to slow down for road works, however, they need to accept that maintaining infrastructure in the community is an important role and Council workers do not deserve to be put at risk of serious injury or death when performing that role.”