RHA Recovery members are urging government agencies to give them permission to use red flashing lights similar to the emergency services.
Richard Goddard, past chairman of the Road Haulage Association’s Recovery Members’ Committee said: “Our operators are expected to work in dangerous conditions on a hard shoulder with forty four ton trucks driving past at speeds of up to 56mph. Their only protection from incoming traffic is basic training regarding coning placement and strategically parking their vehicle. Government must give us the same protection as the other emergency services and allow them to adopt a more effective light warning system.”
The past two years has seen three fatalities; Ringwood, Manchester and South Wales. Each involved a vehicle leaving the inside lane and colliding with a recovery operator and all have led to police charges being brought.
1998 saw six fatalities. This led to the formation a watchdog group – Survive. Comprising representatives from the major motoring clubs and recovery associations, it works tirelessly, researching and lobbying for hard shoulder safety. They work with the Highways Agency and they have had many successes, particularly in making motorists aware of the dangers of stopping on the hard shoulder. This has led to the common practice of, wherever possible, motorists taking refuge half way up a motorway embankment on the other side of the motorway barrier.
The recovery operator does not have that luxury. It is highly dangerous work and the recovery industry argues that the Highways Agency should afford them greater protection with red flashing lights.
“We need even more protection”, said Dave Gregory, secretary of RHA Recovery. “A hard shoulder incident should automatically trigger a mandatory 50mph speed limit. Speed restrictions apply for motorway night workers; why are the same safety measures not given to recovery operators?
“How many more will die on our roads before they get the protection they deserve? Red lights, as used by the police and emergency services, will not stop hard shoulder deaths but they will offer some much needed protection to our members and will save lives”.
For more information: www.rha.uk.net