Reckless and abusive drivers could soon have their bad behaviour caught on camera in Sheffield.
Minature CCTV cameras are being installed at Sheffield roadworks to protect workers, after more than 200 dangerous incidents involving drivers.
The technology is being used by Sheffield Council’s Streets Ahead team, who say workers have narrowly escaped serious injury on numerous occasions since the major road improvement programme began two years ago.
‘Cone Cam’ has been introduced following 23 incidents where workers were struck or experienced near misses from drivers entering roadworks and 175 reports of workers being hit or nearly hit by moving vehicles on public roads.
There have been a further three incidents of violence towards employees working on roads.
Site supervisor Andrew Ward, aged 32, who works for Streets Ahead sub-contractor Aggregate Industries, said verbal abuse from motorists was a regular occurrence. He said he has reported incidents of drivers ignoring cones, or mounting pavements and grass verges to drive through or around roadworks.
Mr Ward said: “Cone Cam will be a huge help to us by letting drivers know they are being watched by CCTV and the footage can be used to prosecute them when they put road workers in danger.
“Cone Cam won’t just protect us - it will protect the drivers we deter too. Roads are closed for good reasons and anyone driving through roadworks could find anything from large holes to a 40 tonne vehicle coming the other way.
“I once saw a car end up in a hole after the driver ignored a road closure - it had to be winched out.”
The miniature cameras have been set up to capture evidence of potentially criminal behaviour which could be used in future prosecutions of drivers who break the law. Signs warning people that Cone Cam is in 24 hour operation will be displayed at roadworks across the city.
Streets Ahead Director Graeme Symonds said: “We do occasionally need to close roads so that our crews can carry out their work safely and efficiently and, unfortunately, we are seeing an increasing number of incidents where motorists are putting our teams, and potentially themselves, in a dangerous situation by driving into roadwork sites.”
It comes as the Highways Agency issued a separate warning about the risks faced by people working to improve or maintain England’s motorways and major A roads. Between 2009 and 2013, eight road workers died and 317 were injured while working on or near such roads.
The agency has released footage of two near-misses involving lorries ignoring road closures and nearly causing accidents.