Enhanced Safety on UK Roads: Red Flashing Lights Approved for Vehicle Recovery Workers
landmark decision designed to enhance the safety of roadside workers, Britain’s Department for Transport (DfT) has given the nod to vehicle recovery workers to display red flashing lights on their vehicles while attending broken down vehicles. This announcement comes on the heels of a long-standing campaign by the sector, aiming to protect the safety of these essential workers.
Why the Change?
Historically, recovery workers, who assist drivers with broken-down vehicles, were only allowed to utilize amber flashing lights. However, red lights, commonly associated with emergency services, are more conspicuous and have a higher likelihood of being noticed and heeded by passing drivers.
This move is not merely symbolic. Dom Shorrocks, RAC’s chief operations officer, labeled this as “an important milestone” for the industry. He emphasized the numerous tragic incidents where better visibility could have made a difference and potentially saved lives. As soon as the legal change is effective, RAC has committed to promptly enabling their teams to use these red flashing lights.
DfT’s Vision and Rationale
The policy adjustment is part of DfT’s “Plan for Drivers”. In their statement, they underscored the significance of recovery operators, mentioning, “Road recovery operators provide a crucial service to stranded drivers and support the economy…To help keep them safe…we will permit the use of rear-facing red flashing lamps by road recovery operators.”
A Universal Welcome
The announcement has been universally welcomed. The AA’s president, Edmund King, concurred with the sentiment, stating that using red lights would bolster the safety not only of the drivers and passengers of stranded vehicles but also the patrols assisting them.
Tragically, vehicle recovery worker Steve Godbold, while wearing high-visibility attire and with amber lights flashing on his vehicle, was struck and killed on the M25 in 2017. This incident underscores the imperative nature of enhancing the visibility and safety of roadside workers.
This change is more than just about lights. It’s about recognizing the importance of safety of alll our roadside workers, ensuring their visibility, and acting proactively to prevent tragic accidents. The move to red lights is a beacon of hope and safety for all on UK roads.