During the COVID-19 lockdowns, there has been an observed increase in the speed of traffic in Area 9, especially through roadworks - putting the lives of roadworkers at greater risk.
This trend is reflective of national figures from across the UK where, as a result of reduced traffic levels, speeds through closures have been reported to be on the increase.
One particular example in Area 9 was the closure was on the A38(M) CD slip road (which has a 50mph speed limit) for the R193 concrete repair scheme at Gravelly Hill Interchange (M6 J6). This interchange is commonly known as “Spaghetti Junction” to many road users.
Traffic speeds were monitored during the day between 11 – 15 January and the number of speeding vehicles recorded each day varied between 555 – 1020, with an average of 700 speeding vehicles.
This part of the highway network, which is a primary route out of Birmingham City Centre joining Aston Expressway to the A38 in north Birmingham, has an historical problem of speeding vehicles.
The problem is not a new one, as research carried out on behalf of Amey in 2019 showed that in excess of 65% of drivers surveyed admitted to speeding through roadworks, despite the fact that over 80% considering the job of a roadworker to be a potentially hazardous one.
Over the course of the first few months of 2021, and with the support of Highways England, the Central Motorway Police Group (CMPG) were keen to use the collected data as part of a road safety initiative In area 9 to seek to bring the perpetrators to justice.
This resulted in education letters being sent to the registered keeper of all those recorded travelling 60mph and over, including repeat offenders.
As part of Safer Highways own Respect our Roadworkers campaign, the industry-wide movement is striving to increase eduction amongst motorists about the risks of endangering the lives of those we put to work on the public highway by not obeying temporary speed limits, utilising the evidence captured from key member companies such as Kier Highways.
Speaking about the latest news in Area 9, Safer Highways Chief Executive, Kevin Robinson said,
”It has long been apparent that, as an industry we need to tackle the challenge of motorists who seek to make marginal time gains by speeding through roadworks.
“These actions not only endanger those who we put to work in closures but also place the road user at significant risk.
”Whilst I applaud Highways England for the issuing of education letters, surely there is more we can do; breaking a speed limit, whether temporary or not, is against the law.
”Only through the use of technology such as Carnell’s SafetyCam can we bring prosecutions, when those using the roads, breach legislation.
”Moreover whilst greater enforcement would always be most welcome, greater education of the motorist is of equal importance.”
Safer Highways “Respect our Roadworkers“ week will launch in March 2022 with ministerial events in all of the devolved nations seeking to highlight the risks around incursions, roadworker abuse and most specifically a public engagement campaign to educate road users.
For more information visit www.saferhighways.co.uk