Van drivers have been lambasted by the Environmental Agency for continually driving through sets of temporary traffic lights outside a school in Todmorden, West Yorkshire. In its attempt to construct the UK’s behind-schedule flood-defence barriers, the agency has reduced the Rochdale Road that passes outside the school to single lane traffic to allow contractors to complete the essential work, but commercial vehicle drivers are running a very real risk of jeopardising students safety and their own van insurance if they are caught, with points on their license a very real possibility.
Not content with ignoring the temporary lights system, it is reported that van drivers are also treating the school’s pedestrian crossing with the same disregard, a facility used by pupils and parents alike to gain access to the Todmoren school.
It seems that no amount of effort by police or the contractors themselves, who have organised temporary crossing assistance, can abate a flood of incident reports that file into the complaints department about irresponsible van drivers. It is not only pupils who are being put at risk but also the Volker Stevin contractors who are carrying out the Environment Agency work, who are unable to work without the threat that reckless van drivers pose to their on-the-job safety.
Following the issue of a statement by Will Benedikz, who is overseeing the Todmoren flood alleviation scheme implementation, the police are now in the process of installing cameras in the hope that this will deter motorists from ignoring the single lane warnings. The added threat of an on-the-spot fine of £60 and the threat of license points, which will blow any chance of the drivers obtaining any repeat cheap van insurance policy they currently hold, should also help to curb this spat of driving infringements.
The Environment Agency’s project manager underlined that the safety of the pedestrians and his contractors was ‘paramount’ as they undertake to complete this unavoidable work. The other issue his contractors have reported is traffic delays caused by van drivers shooting the lights and running into oncoming traffic along the single lane. It is no wonder that the ‘White Van Man‘ has such a poor reputation with this kind of fragrant law-breaking activity committed beneath the nose of an official government agency.
With automotive leaders calling for cheaper motor insurance across the board, this type of activity does little to fight their corner, only underlines insurance firms argument further that prices are high for a reason.
Mr Benedikz did extend his thanks to the majority of drivers who have been patient, given that the contractors have tried their utmost to reduce inconvenience; it is the handful of irresponsible van drivers racing against deadlines rather than accepting the reality of the situation that is the bane of the public, causing this outcry. Perhaps when they come to renew their van insurance and find that it is nowhere near as cheap as last time, the message will get through; let’s just hope nothing serious comes to fruition in the meantime.