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Commentary: May-June 2010

Keep cool this summer


June 10, 2010
By Andy Bateman


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Recent editions of The Province and the Chilliwack Times reported on a
bizarre incident and its aftermath involving a flagger on a B.C. road
project.

Recent editions of The Province and the Chilliwack Times reported on a bizarre incident and its aftermath involving a flagger on a B.C. road project.

Flagger David Miller said an irate driver deliberately tried to run him over because the driver didn’t want to wait for city crews to clear a roadway. The incident happened in Chilliwack, B.C., about 120 kilometres east of Vancouver. According to Miller, the driver of an SUV told him he would run him over unless he moved out of the way. After being told to wait, the man “hit the gas” and the vehicle struck Miller, but the driver was quickly boxed-in by city truck drivers. Fortunately, Miller sustained only minor injuries.

The police were called and the driver received tickets totalling $355 under the Motor Vehicle Act, for disobeying a flagman and for passing on the left. According to an RCMP spokesperson, the incident did not warrant criminal charges because, “in order for criminal charges to be brought it has to be a fairly serious incident that occurred. Whenever we have these incidents occur, it’s very serious. We want people to conduct themselves in a safe way through construction zones but there are charges under the Motor Vehicle Act for that purpose.”

Andre Mongeon of Miller’s employer A & D Flagging Services saw things differently, wishing “there were other charges brought and stricter laws.” Mongeon also expressed the hope that “by speaking out and talking about the risks flaggers endure, the driving public will show them more caution on roadways.”

This incident is apparently only the latest in a series of run-ins involving traffic controllers and B.C. motorists. Statistics show that 15 traffic controllers were hit by motorists on the job between 2005 and 2008, two of whom died of their injuries.

Whatever your feelings about these unfortunate incidents, at least one clear message emerges: this summer, keep cool, keep aware and mind your back.


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