Work-related traffic accidents claimed the lives of two CUPE brothers last year in British Columbia. So at the CUPE BC Convention in June, members resolved to tackle the issue of road safety for public workers.
After months of non-stop work, a number of recommendations are now before the provincial Minister of Transportation and Highways. When approved, these recommendations will mean major changes in the way that traffic controllers are trained.
The changes include an in-depth certification and training program for both instructors and traffic controllers that will be a standard requirement across the province. A central registry will be established with a renewal date and re-testing will be required at no cost to either the instructors or participants. Amendments to the Motor Vehicle Act have also been recommended to allow police to lay charges against drivers putting traffic control personnel at risk.
To raise public awareness, a radio advertising campaign began in July across the province. The cost of the campaign has been equally shared among the Workers Compensation Board, the provincial Ministry of Transportation and Highways, the public insurance commission and CUPE BC. As well, bumper stickers and road signs are being produced to remind drivers that fines have been more than doubled for traffic violations in work zones.
CUPE BC is proud to be a part of this effort to raise awareness and save lives.