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DATE: May 8, 2006

INCIDENT TYPE: Hostile Motorist

LOCATION: District 5

TYPE OF WORK ACTIVITY: Flagging Operation

THE INCIDENT: On May 8, 2006, two Caltrans Maintenance employees had set up a road closure for routine road maintenance and a drain cleaning operation. A motorist approached the flagging station in the opposing lane and demanded to be allowed through. A verbal confrontation ensued and both the motorist and one of the Caltrans employees made belligerent and discourteous comments. The situation escalated to the point that the Caltrans employee sustained minor injuries as the motorist entered the work zone in defiance of the flagger's instructions.

CONCLUSIONS: This incident is an example of why established Caltrans procedures must be followed. The way in which we conduct business must be professional, courteous, and be done in the SAFEST manner possible. We must establish and maintain control of the situation at all times. Losing sight of our purpose and responsibility benefits no one.

RECOMMENDATIONS: : All staff should be reminded of the following safety procedures:

  1. Plan all work prior to leaving for the field and include safety precautions in your plan.
  2. Set up the flagging station per Chapter 8 (section 8.27).
  3. Be firm but courteous at all time.
  4. Explain in a calm voice the reason and duration of the wait. (Often, if the motorist knows the wait isn't too long they might be more understanding).
  5. Never allow a belligerent motorist to distract you from your assigned duties.
  6. Walk away from any driver who becomes belligerent.
  7. Always be alert to the conditions around you.
  8. Never turn your back or step into the traffic.
  9. Plan an escape route.
  10. Warn fellow employees if a motorist fails to stop.
  11. Record the vehicle description, license number and description of the driver.
  12. Report this information to your supervisor or the CHP as soon as possible.
  13. Never place yourself in a position of danger.

(916) 227-2640

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