A pilot project at some Surrey construction zones is reminding people to “drive with care.”
The City of Surrey has partnered with the Work Zone Safety Alliance for a pilot project to protect roadside users.
The signs, which feature a mom and her children, ask people to “Drive with care: Our mom works here.”
Shabnem Afzal, manager of the city’s road safety team and the lead on the Vision Zero strategy, said the woman pictured on the sign is an actual employee of the city with her children.
“It’s just to let people relate that these are your fellow neighbours and community members, who are working on the roadside and that they’re very vulnerable when they’re in that situation,” she said.
Vision Zero, which launched in February 2019, has a goal of reducing deaths and injuries on roads by 15 per cent in five years.
Afzal said this pilot project “really aligns” with the strategy because one of the key pillars of Vision Zero is to reduce speeds.
“We know that the faster you go, the more damage there would be to a person in a collision. We also know that speed contributes to almost 20 per cent of really serious injuries and collisions in Surrey, itself.”
Karesse Desmond, who is part of the Work Zone Safety Alliance, said the project was based on data collected by the organization.
She said about 70 per cent of drivers surveyed said that “an increase in signage would help them and give them direction and encourage them to slow down when they approach work zones.”
Desmond added the initial rollout of the signs on Thursday (Sept. 3) was to try and test that theory.
The signs, she explained, were created to humanize roadside workers and bring back that element of ‘we are people, we have families, we’re connected beyond what we do for work’ and hopefully encourage drivers to react accordingly.
“What I’m hoping, and what I think the traffic control industry as a whole is hoping from the outcome of a pilot project like this, is that we will begin to see a rapport build between roadside workers and drivers and that we’ll actually be able to remember that we have a connection beyond being driver and worker.”