March driver banned after narrowly missing worker on closed-off part of A47 near Wisbech
A driver from March has been banned after smashing through a barrier on a closed-off section of road and sending workers running for cover.
The dramatic CCTV footage shows a silver BMW breaking through a temporary and illuminated barrier as contractors are forced to jump out of the way as the male driver ignores warnings to stop.
It happened during the evening of May 24 this year as overnight resurfacing works took place on the A47 near Wisbech. The road was closed at the time to all traffic apart from construction vehicles and machinery.
National Highways and its contractors Ringway – who were carrying out the work – have released the footage to highlight the dangers and potentially fatal consequences of roadwork incursions – that is when a vehicle is driven through a closed-off section of road.
The latest figures for roadwork incursions across the east of the country are set to more than double this year. To date, there have been 220 incidents this calendar year. Across the entirety of 2022 there were 122.
Heather Openshaw, National Highways’ head of service delivery in the east region, described the footage as “shocking and highly dangerous”.
She added: “There can be no excuse for this type of incident, and we are lucky no one was seriously injured or killed.
“As we know from the latest figures, we are seeing a disturbing and sharp rise with this form of reckless and ignorant driving, and we will continue to do all we can to raise awareness of the issue.
“We, alongside the relevant authorities, will continue to pursue enforcement action against those whose behaviour behind the wheel endangers the lives of those working to improve our roads.”
Following the incident, a 29-year-old man from March was subject of a police investigation and reported for a number of offences.
He subsequently pleaded guilty to driving without due care and attention, failing to stop at the scene of an accident as well as failure to report an accident.
Last month, at Peterborough Magistrates’ Court, the driver was banned from driving for four months and issued with a fine and costs that amounted to £788.
Chief Inspector Stephen O'Keeffe, who oversees roads policing across Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire, said: “I welcome the decision of the court to take this driver off the road.
“Hopefully this will allow them time to reflect on their highly dangerous actions which could have resulted in a fatality.
“We recognise the importance of highlighting this incident to warn what thankfully remains a small minority of drivers that believe they can wilfully ignore traffic management measures and place others in danger through their own selfish actions.
“This remains a breach of the Highway Code and we will continue to investigate these types of offences and support any appropriate prosecution.”
Mike Thompson, a divisional manager for National Highways’ contractor Ringway, said: “The safety of our teams remains of paramount importance, not just for ourselves, but all providers that work within the highways sector.
“As an industry it has been necessary to adapt our traffic management with incursion warnings and CCTV systems to enhance the level of protection for our teams.
“The majority of motorists that pass roadworks do so in a safe manner and it remains a small section that feel it’s okay to ignore our signs that has led us to increase the levels of protection.
“While it remains disappointing to see these incursions continue to occur, we welcome the action taken against this driver, who endangered the safety of those working on our behalf.
“Hopefully this serves as a timely reminder of the effort taking place across the industry and the criminal justice system to stamp out this type of irresponsible driving."
Reinforcing that safety remains the absolute priority, National Highways’ Heather Openshaw added: “Working on the strategic road network is a very challenging environment at the best of times, but when road users ignore barriers, signs or cones, they are effectively entering someone else’s workspace with a vehicle, often travelling at high speed and this is completely unacceptable.
“Safety will always be the priority for National Highways; we want everyone to get home safe and well, and that goes for our workers too.”