Of the 11 countries surveyed, Belgian drivers are the most “distracted” near a building site: some 67% of them do not reduce their speed to the compulsory 70 km/hour near a building site. The behaviour is dangerous for staff working on-site, but also for the drivers themselves. Sofico, the Walloon motorway management organisation, and the regional Minister for Public Works and Road Safety, Carlo Di Antonio, both insisted on Thursday.
Belgians are speed champions when approaching a building site: they greatly exceed the European average of 55% of drivers that continue on their way without slowing down. The point is revealed by the 5th European Barometer for Responsible Driving, conducted by the Foundation Vinci Autoroute.
However, it emerges on Wednesday from a survey by the Walloon Road Safety Agency that the compulsory limit in the event of works is considered acceptable, as much by day as by night.
The rate of approval climbs to 95% when workers themselves are visible. However, Sofico alerts, “…workers may very well be concealed from drivers’ view when, for example, working under a bridge.”
Furthermore, the management organisation flags up, “A building site, both with or without workers performing their job, is a danger zone for all drivers.” Problems include reduced lanes, diversions or road closures, reduced space and corrected trajectories…The usual configuration of the public highway is altered. “It is therefore essential to respect speed limits both for your own safety and that of other road users.”
Between 2008 and 2017, on average four deaths and 145 injured were recorded each year at a construction area on Walloon motorways, for some 90 accidents. On Belgian motorways, two lorry shock absorbers are also damaged each week on temporary construction sites owing to a road traffic accident.
Consequently, during the entire month of August, 300 signs by the side of the Walloon road network will remind drivers to slow down.