Concerns for the safety of roadside recovery workers have this week been raised in the House of Commons during a debate on Road Safety.
Tracey Crouch, Conservative MP for Chatham and Aylesford Commons raised the issue after meeting Sam Cockerill, whose partner was killed instantly in September 2017 when a HGV strayed on to the hard shoulder of the M25 and hit him while he was recovering a stranded vehicle.
Speaking during in the House of Commons debate last night (Monday 5 November), Crouch said: “First, there is a request for roadside rescue and recovery operators to be able to use prominent red lights while attending accidents and breakdowns.
“At present, they are only permitted to be fitted with and use amber warning beacons while attending incidents. There are two reasons why using red lights makes sense.
“First, there is a scientific phenomenon called the Rayleigh effect, which means the red light can be seen further away.
“Secondly, the colour red elicits a more serious reaction, whether consciously or subconsciously, in the minds of road users approaching a hazard and drivers adjust accordingly.”
Crouch also requested for the Department for Transport to collect data on the number of casualties specifically among recovery workers.
Slow Down, Move Over
She later made reference to the America’s Slow Down, Move Over laws which are now in place across all 50 states before highlighting calls for the government to halt the roll-out of all-lane-running motorways and to implement so-called smart motorways in a way that takes account of the rights of those who work on the hard shoulder, particularly recovery operators.
Crouch said: “The campaign is for all those roadside and recovery workers who have experienced near misses or lost their lives, such as my constituent Sam’s partner, Steve.
“I would be grateful if the Minister in his response committed to meeting me, Sam and others to discuss the matter further so that we can make progress in protecting those who come to our rescue when we need it on our roads.”
Stan Gallears of TruckEast Ltd and founder of Facebook group ‘All roadside workers UK – Slow Down Move Over’ said: “We are finally starting to get there now it’s in the government circles now let’s hope they acted and make it happen this is down to you lot.”
Following the debate, Facebook page Slow Down Move Over posted: “This is a monumental break through today.
“If anyone was in doubt about supporting the campaign for safer roadside rescue and recovery, I hope you will now accept it is making a difference and [will] support it.”
Commenting on the post, Peter Puggy Douglas wrote: “Well done. Finger crossed now something will be done for roadside recovery.”
Have you or anyone you know experienced a close call while out on recovery? Share your concerns and experiences below or email [email protected].