May Issue 36 - Flipbook - Page 17
PAUSE THE ROLL OUT OF RED LIGHTS
Traffic Officers in their role while
controlling live flows.
partners, there are still a few that
procure based largely on price.
If we disregard for a minute how
HE have clumsily communicated
that their officer’s lives are more
important than recovery operators
but instead consider how the RHA
cleverly argued in the 1999 report.
If we considered for a minute that
PAS43 was made mandatory,
then we can answer both RHA’s
and HE’s concerns. The use of
Red lights can be properly policed
to a reduced set of 600 or so
professional recovery operators
and still retain their rarity so
valuable HE officers’ lives are
more likely to remain intact.
“Amber flashing beacons are
too frequently used at the
present detracting from their
primary function of drawing
attention to stationary or slowmoving vehicles”
I believe there is some traction in
RHA’s and HE’s arguments, and
I must admit I share their line of
thought as, less is more, however
I would have preferred if HE
communicated their response with
a bit more sensitivity.
This point leads me on to my main
There is very good reason indeed
to introduce improved conspicuity
to the recovery industry but first
we must recognise the RHA (back
in 1999) and HE now, do have
a point. Too much of one thing
diminishes its effect.
The crux of the argument
is regulating the use of red
lights to limit their usage to the
Presently our industry is selfregulated so The PAS43 standard
is not formally unrecognised by all
There are still customers, including
some authorities that do not
require minimum standards, such
as FORS accreditation in London,
when procuring their recovery
I hear you say, “then what’s to
stop the 10,000 or so unregulated
recovery operators presently
operating on the fringe accrediting
to PAS 43 so they can wear red
Not to mention 10,000 mobile
tyre fitters out there who’d want to
have their equivalent accreditation
standard of recognition, if not PAS
Well, I can think of a lot worse
things happening than the
recovery industry (and other
roadside workers) operating on
a level playing field by achieving
100% professional compliance.
I would expect the cost of
administering PAS43 would act
as an inhibitor to accreditation,
and therefore the responsibility to
wear red lights, so it wouldn’t be a
free for all.
Anyway, by the time mass
accreditation and red lights
become the norm, crash mitigation
technology will have superseded
the importance of conspicuity to
reduce collisions in the future
anyway (just my opinion).
On balance, as it stands now, I
would maintain it is not feasible
for the industry to wear red lights
whilst there is no practical way to
police who can wear them.
If red lights were introduced now,
every ‘Fred in the Shed’ would
have them and road users would
be desensitised by them, as much
as they are for The HE signs on
motorways that tell us for 20
miles that “there’s an obstruction
ahead”, or there’s “pedestrians
reported slow down”.
It’s the cry wolf effect.
From my observations, it appears
that many road users have learnt
to disregard these signs and are
becoming insensitive because of
their frequency of use and rarely,
if not, ever see the obstruction or
We should also consider, the
‘be careful what you wish for’
adage. Don’t think for a minute
that I’m suggesting that investing
in red lights isn’t worth it, even if
it saves just one life, because I
am not, but we do need to make
a consideration for the cost
of adding red lights to all your
recovery vehicles. Not cheap.
So, to be clear on this, I am not
against red lights. I am ‘for’ them.
However, the industry (and
other roadside workers) need
step change management to
introduce red lights, the first step
is the introduction of mandatory
standards of operation, like
PAS43, so we can help the
authorities identify who has the
responsibility to use red lights.
The problem is, government have
no appetite for more legislation.