'Things have been frightening': traffic flaggers rally after worker hit by car

Traffic control workers and supporters lined a highway in Vernon Saturday asking drivers to slow down after a flagger was hit by a car.

'Anybody in this industry has had close calls. We've come home shaking,' says rally organizer

Around 100 flaggers lined Highway 97 near 16th Avenue in Vernon on Saturday, Nov. 25, 2017 to urge drivers to ensure the safety of the workers. (Castanet)

About 100 traffic control workers in Vernon, B.C., lined a local highway Saturday to rally for driver awareness after a flagger was seriously injured when hit by a car earlier this month.

On Nov. 17, the female flagger was injured just east of Vernon when a driver failed to stop near an active work site.

Flaggers in B.C. say they are worried about their safety due to drivers who speed or are distracted. (Castanet)

The woman was air-lifted to Kelowna General Hospital where she remains "fighting very hard," according to the organizer of Saturday's rally.

"Friday was just a horrible, horrible accident," said Michelle Hudson, owner of Integrity Traffic Control Training.

"We have a fellow traffic control person that is seriously injured and we also have a motorist that probably can't even look themselves in the mirror right now."

'Driving a weapon'

Hudson asked flaggers, first responders, tow truck drivers and others who work on local highways to take part in the demonstration Saturday morning.

Participants lined both sides of Highway 97 near 16th Avenue. Many held signs with with the word "slow" on them.

"We are on the road every day and we really need our communities to support us," she said.

"I think anybody in this industry has had close calls. We've come home shaking or stood on the side of the road with tears rolling down our face just because things have been frightening."

Flaggers held up personal messages at a rally in Vernon B.C. on Nov. 25, 2017. (Castanet)

While she says many drivers obey traffic control signs and even politely wave at flaggers, others are in a hurry or texting behind the wheel.

"When we're distracted behind a vehicle, we're actually driving a weapon. That is a large piece of equipment that's coming towards roadside workers," she said. 

Hudson said events were also planned in Prince George and Quesnel.

With files from CBC's Daybreak South.

About the Author

Jaimie Kehler

Jaimie Kehler is a web writer, producer and broadcaster based in Kelowna, B.C. She has also worked for CBC News in Toronto and Ottawa. To contact her with a story, email jaimie.kehler@cbc.ca.