VIDEO: Cone Zone campaign reminds B.C. drivers to slow down, move over

42 tickets issued in 2 hours as B.C.-wide initiative kicks off in South Surrey

Slow down, pay attention and move over.

The 14th annual BC Cone Zone Campaign launched Monday morning (May 13) with a traffic enforcement event in South Surrey to increase awareness of roadside worker safety.

“Every spring we do this to highlight the safety of roadside workers. It’s not specific to police — it is all roadside workers — it could be the tow truck driver, the landscaper … it could be people in public works,” said BC Highway Patrol Sgt. Patrick Davies, as vehicles whizzed by on 24th Avenue.

“We want people to be aware of the law — the ‘Slow down, move over law,’ which has been on the books for well over 10 years.”

Many people profess not to know about the law, Davies said, which has been in effect for more than two decades and compels approaching drivers to slow down and move over for any official vehicle stopped at the side of the highway that is displaying flashing lights: red, blue or yellow.

“We want people to obey flag people … to take a breath. Everyone is in a hurry, everyone has somewhere more important to be right now,” Davies said. “But this is (roadside workers’) workspace — all these people have families, and they just want to go home safely.”

READ ALSO: Cone Zone campaign in Surrey reminds drivers to mind flaggers and road workers

A joint provincial initiative managed by Road Safety at Work and supported by the Work Zone Safety Alliance, WorkSafeBC, and the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, the initiative happens every year through the end of summer.

Trace Acres, program director of Road Safety at Work, noted there are still injuries and deaths to roadside workers across the province every year.

“Over the last 10 years, from 2014 to 2023, there were nine people killed and 251 injured seriously enough to miss time off work,” he said. “It’s typically the result of people driving too fast or (distracted driving).”

With flag people set up around some municipal workers near 163 Street and 24 Avenue, police had an undercover officer pose as a roadside worker, who could then alert officers ahead of any distractions or infractions.

In the two hours at the roadside site, from 9 to 11 a.m., officer issued 42 violation tickets, with at least 31 of the tickets issued for cellphone use. Other common violations include speeding and drivers not using seatbelts, Davies said.

“Unfortunately, it is a reality that every year there are people injured and killed. Almost invariably, it is inattention and disobedience that causes this,” said Davies.

“We want people to be courteous, be kind and be patient.”

Tricia Weel

About the Author: Tricia Weel

I’ve worked as a journalist in community newspapers from White Rock to Parksville and Qualicum Beach, to Abbotsford and Surrey.
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