Construction workers aren’t the law

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  1. We'll need better trained flagmen says:

    In Toronto we used to ALWAYS have a paid police officer on every construction site that was working on/under the street. Most of the time the police would merely hang out because there really wasn’t much to do, and this requirement to always have a police officer on site was deemed a rather big waste of money. In order to save money the city’s rules have been re-written so that flagman can replace police officers in some circumstances.

    You are quite right that we have a serious obligation to operate our vehicle responsibly and safely. The Ontario HTA states this principle of responsibility several times, each time in a different way.

    Just because the light turned green doesn’t mean that it is immediately safe to proceed. We may still have to wait for pedestrians crossing the street to finish before we can proceed, or there may still be other drivers who have rushed the yellow/red light, or who have not noticed (or cared) that the light has changed to red. When the light turns green, we must still re-scan the entire intersection and decide for ourselves if/when it is safe to proceed.

    Even when a police officer (or several) is(are) on point duty at an intersection we, the operators of our vehicles, must still take care to operate our vehicle in a safe manner through these intersections.

    Currently, the limit of the authority of a flagman at a construction site is to temporarily stop traffic. They do this to help traffic alternate when there is only one lane open to share for two-way traffic, as you indicated in your post. Or else they stop traffic to allow the safe movement of heavy equipment on/near a construction site, like trucks entering/leaving a driveway.

    To save money on paid police, there has been much talk about empowering construction flagmen with more authority. Provided that the flagmen are properly trained and tested then I can see this working out OK almost all of the time.

    But we, as the operators of our vehicles, must _always_ be vigilant and do our best to be safe. People — even police and flagmen — can (and do) make mistakes from time to time.

  2. davidjroot says:

    I agree — flag persons need better training. Many I have encountered are quite good, aware of traffic and in radio contact with the opposing flagger; but just as many, however, seem as though they drew the short straw.

    While they are legally permitted to stop traffic (only they and firefighters are permitted to use the slow/stop signs), their attention to what’s actually happening is not always what it should be.

    Worse, still, is the random construction worker that waves vehicles around a stopped dump truck or other equipment, without first looking to see if there is oncoming traffic.

  3. Scott says:

    Are construction workers authorized representatives of the department of transpiration? Do we have to obey their slow signs? Speed limit signs go as low as 25 mph but slow signs make me nervous about breaking the law by ignoring workers holding signs.

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