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Distracted Driving- Don't Do It

Distracted driving is one of the largest causes of collisions, injuries, and deaths on roads.

Forty-seven percent of Canadians admit they have typed out or used the voice-memo feature to send a message while driving. Sending or reading a text forces you to take your eyes off the road for 5 seconds. At 90 km/h, that’s comparable to driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed.

In this blog, we’ll be discussing the enormous threat distracted driving poses to roadside workers and how to effectively minimize this risk with alternative devices.

The threat of distracted driving

According to the RCMP, distracted driving is more than just texting while driving. It includes any time a distraction affects your judgement and prohibits you from driving safely.

Regardless of how it presents itself, it remains to be a serious issue. In Ontario alone, deaths from collisions caused by distracted driving have doubled since 2000.

This reckless driving behaviour affects all road users, but significantly impacts road workers in construction zones.

In BC alone, 15 roadside workers were killed and 226 were injured and missed time from work as a result of being hit by a motor vehicle between 2006-2015.

To illustrate the danger roadworkers face, in May 2016, Vancouver police orchestrated a sting operation. As part of WorkSafeBC’s Cone Zone initiative, officers posed as traffic flaggers to bust unsuspecting motorists of driving distracted through construction zones.

This initiative and others have been coordinated to bring awareness to the tremendous risk of driving distracted in construction work zones.

Alternatives to human flaggers: Portable Traffic Signal and Automated Flagger Assistance Devices

One way we can make our roads safer is by implementing alternative devices like portable traffic signals (PTS) and automated flagger assistance devices (AFAD).

PTSs are a smart system that serves everybody’s needs. The portable traffic control signal keeps workers safe from traffic while managing incoming and outgoing vehicles with temporary signalization.

AFADs on the other hand protect roadside workers by minimizing a flaggers’ direct exposure to traffic by allowing them to control the flagging device remotely.

Using AFADs allows one operator to control multiple units at a distance. If roadworkers want to manage traffic at the end of the work zone with a stop and slow paddle they can also control the unit at the opposite end with the remote control. 

AFADs can also be seen at a distance because of their easily recognizable red and yellow signals and tall stance, measuring about 9 feet tall. If drivers are able to see the flagger sooner, they will ultimately have more time to slow down or stop.  

However, it’s important to note that an auto flagger device doesn’t eliminate the need for a qualified flagger. There should still be a trained flagger onsite at all times.

Roadside workers feel safer with alternative devices

Several AFAD operators have expressed they feel significantly safer when operating the AFAD compared to when they would stand in the road as a flagger.

North America Traffic offers a complete line of PTSs and AFADs for every application. To learn more about our expansive line of products, request a quote, or find a dealer, visit our website or get in touch by phone toll-free at 1-877-352-4626.