Letter: Respect traffic control persons for everyone’s safety

Traffic control persons are here not to hinder, but to help

Uniforms have become a part of our everyday life.

From Army to security, uniforms represent a person who can offer assistance, protection and safety. The people who selflessly chose to put their lives on the line for others should be appreciated and respected.

I wear a uniform as well, different but necessary for the job I do as a traffic control person. I am one of several thousand traffic control persons across Canada that has chosen to step out on the road each day to keep you, the public, safe, as well as our crews and ourselves. Our one and only goal is safety for the smallest child walking down the sidewalk to the massive semi-trucks that roll past us.

We stand in front of you, armed only with a lightweight sign with two words — Stop/Slow. Our job is dangerous; the heavy equipment we work beside contain many dangers, as well as the forces of electricity, gas and water our crews work with. The majority of our communication is non-verbal, hand gestures, signs announcing our presence etc. When we ask you to stop, about two to three car lengths away is appreciated. As is keeping your eyes on us. We are in radio contact with our partner or the crew and it may become important to move quickly.

The slow sign less than usual means safety for all of our workers who are doing their job within the work zone. We all are part of a family somewhere, the public and the crews. Some of us are single parents or have aging parents dependent on us. We all want to do our jobs and go home at night just like you.

The traffic control industry has experienced several losses due to distracted driving. Cell phones have become too widely used by the traveling public while operating a vehicle. I don’t want to die because you don’t feel my safety matters. I wish the public viewed the traffic control persons uniform in the same positive light as they do first responders — people who are there to insure safety and protection.

Traffic control persons are here not to hinder, but to help. Please help in keeping everyone safe by obeying the rules, slowing down or stopping. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Barbara Hanuszak

Penticton