Traf­fic work­ers tell driv­ers to cut out the bad be­hav­iour and calm down on the roads

The Observer - - FRONT PAGE - Gre­gory Bray Gre­gory.Bray@glad­sto­neob­server.com.au

TRAF­FIC con­trollers are out­raged that mo­torists are abus­ing them daily while do­ing their jobs.

En­dur­ing, sear­ing sum­mer tem­per­a­tures are bad enough but work­ers say they are reg­u­larly threat­ened by driv­ers.

Up­set con­trollers yes­ter­day told The Ob­server they had been hit with eggs and fish bait, spat at and abused. “We’re try­ing to keep road work­ers safe and driv­ers need to calm down a bit,” a road traf­fic con­troller said, not wish­ing to be named.

“Peo­ple don’t give way. They’re speed­ing through the 40km/h safety lane, some are on mo­bile phones and oc­ca­sion­ally we see peo­ple drink­ing al­co­hol be­hind the wheel.”

Ac­cord­ing to the worker, it’s not only traf­fic con­trollers cop­ping a spray but coun­cil em­ploy­ees, road work­ers and power line per­son­nel.

A traf­fic con­trol su­per­vi­sor said road rage was an ev­ery­day oc­cur­rence.

“Up­set driv­ers think we’re to blame for mak­ing them late and some­times they want to get out of their cars and fight us,” he said.

“Ev­ery con­troller has been threat­ened.”

When asked how they deal with ag­gres­sive driv­ers the work­ers said the key was to stay in con­trol.

“We stay calm be­cause you don’t know who or what you’re deal­ing with, es­pe­cially if they’ve taken some kind of drug,” they said.

For­tu­nately, nei­ther worker has been in a sit­u­a­tion where they were phys­i­cally at­tacked.

But they say the big­gest dan­ger to road work­ers is dis­tracted driv­ers.

“Mo­torists eyes are drawn to the road work, not the traf­fic con­troller on the other side of their cars,” the su­per­vi­sor said.

“The or­ange traf­fic cones and bol­lards will never stop a ve­hi­cle that’s run­ning off the road.”

About 7000 ve­hi­cles travel the Bruce High­way be­tween Glad­stone and Rock­hamp­ton daily.

Traf­fic con­troller Ken Altoft was killed last Novem­ber on the Bruce High­way near the Sun­shine Coast.

Po­lice al­lege a nearby speed cam­era cap­tured the ve­hi­cle that hit him trav­el­ling at 157km/h.

The su­per­vi­sor said leg­is­la­tion is chang­ing in July.

“All road­works in 100km/h zones will be con­trolled by traf­fic lights with traf­fic con­trollers stand­ing about 10 me­tres off to the side,” he said.

“I sup­pose that’s one way of get­ting us out of the fir­ing line.”


DAN­GER ZONE: Work­ing on the roads can be hazardous.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.