Vehicle Recovery Workers in the UK to Display Red Flashing Lights for Enhanced Safety

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Published on
October 2, 2023

In a significant move towards ensuring the safety of vehicle recovery workers, the UK's Department for Transport (DfT) has announced that these professionals will now be permitted to display red flashing lights while on duty. This decision comes after a prolonged campaign by the sector, advocating for enhanced visibility measures to protect workers from oncoming traffic.

Historically, recovery workers, who play a pivotal role in assisting drivers with broken-down vehicles, were restricted to using only amber flashing lights. However, there's a growing consensus that red lights, akin to those used by emergency services, command more attention from passing motorists. The shift to red lights is anticipated to drastically reduce the chances of recovery workers being hit by other vehicles.

The DfT, recognising the invaluable service provided by road recovery operators, included this policy change in their "Plan for Drivers." The plan emphasises the importance of these operators in supporting the economy by aiding stranded drivers, facilitating the movement of goods, and preventing congestion on the UK's bustling roads.

Dom Shorrocks, RAC's Chief Operations Officer, hailed the decision as "an important milestone" for the roadside assistance industry. "We've consistently advocated for the use of red flashing lights alongside the traditional amber ones to ensure the safety of our workers," said Shorrocks. He recalled how the issue was brought to the attention of the Secretary of State earlier this year, stressing the urgency of the matter.

Shorrocks added, "There have been numerous unfortunate incidents involving stationary recovery vehicles on high-speed roads, where the presence of more noticeable red lights could have potentially made a difference. We are committed to implementing this change swiftly once the law is amended."

AA president, Edmund King, echoed these sentiments, stating that the use of red flashing lights would not only safeguard drivers and passengers of broken-down vehicles but also provide an added layer of protection to the patrols working diligently at the roadside.

The urgency of this change is underscored by tragic incidents like that of vehicle recovery worker Steve Godbold. In September 2017, Godbold was tragically struck and killed by a lorry on the M25's hard shoulder while assisting another driver. Despite wearing high-visibility clothing and having amber lights flashing on his vehicle, he became a victim of limited visibility.

This policy change is a testament to the collective efforts of the vehicle recovery sector and is expected to bring about a safer working environment for these unsung heroes of the road.

For more updates on road safety and the automotive industry, stay tuned to

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