#SlowDown, Saskatchewan! Motorists reminded to obey speed limits in work zones
Speed limits in effect even when workers not present
June 30, 2017
Imagine sitting at your desk while 4,000 pounds of glass and steel speed past you hundreds of times a day. Sounds pretty scary, doesn’t it? For highway construction workers, it is just another day on the job.
"Work zone safety is important, not only for motorists, but for those risking their lives to build and maintain our province’s roads, and keep them safe for everyone," Minister Responsible for SGI Joe Hargrave said. "Summer is peak construction season, so speeding in work zones is the focus of SGI's July traffic safety spotlight. Police will be paying close attention to vehicles travelling through work zones. In addition, photo speed enforcement is set up in highway construction zones to catch speeders. Keep your eyes peeled for signage."
"Remember to slow down to 60 km/h or according to the posted speed limit, even when no workers are present,” Highways and Infrastructure Minister David Marit said. “You may find it frustrating; however, if there is a reduced speed limit, it is usually because there are safety hazards present."
Some of these work zone hazards include lane reductions, sharp pavement drops, loose stones, or completed road work that needs time to dry and could be slippery at high speeds. Obeying the posted speed will help keep you safe and your vehicle free from damage.
In 2015, there were 229 collisions in work zones around the province, resulting in 68 injuries and three deaths.
"Safety for highway workers means going home at the end of the day to their family and loved ones," Shantel Lipp, President of the Saskatchewan Heavy Construction Association said. "Our member companies continue to invest heavily in safety training, support, equipment and programs to keep their employees safe, but we need the public to do their part, too."
Aside from the dangers that result from motorists speeding through work zones, there are severe financial consequences. Base fines for speeding in highway work zones when workers are present are triple that of a regular speeding ticket. Fines start at $210 and increase by $3 for every km/h over the speed limit, up to a speed of 90 km/h, and $6 for every km/h over 90. For a driver who speeds through a work zone at 100 km/h, they will be issued a fine of $450, plus a victim surcharge of $80, for a total of $530.
Heavier fines for drivers caught speeding through a work zone were brought in on Nov. 1, 2012, after the tragic death of Ashley Richards, a young flag person who was struck and killed in a work zone on Highway 39 near Weyburn in Aug. 2012. She was just 45 minutes into her first day of work as a flag person when it happened.
"Road construction crews are not there to inconvenience you, but are necessary to keep Saskatchewan moving forward and improve our highways for everyone," added Lipp. "Transportation professionals working on our highways deserve your respect, so we ask that you please slow down and obey the law as you travel through a work zone."
SGI recommends drivers keep these tips in mind to ensure all road users are safe while travelling through construction zones:
- #SlowDown - Obey the posted speed limits in and around the work zones, even when no workers are present.
- Pay attention - Be alert for workers, equipment and other hazards. Don't change lanes within the work zone unless instructed.
- Avoid distractions - Put down the phone and avoid changing radio stations while driving in the work zone.
- Plan your route - Consider alternate routes ahead of time to avoid work zones or allow extra travel time.
- Don't tailgate - Unexpected stops frequently occur in work zones.
- Be patient - Don't try to pass in a work zone. Remember that work zone crew members are working to make our roads safer.
If you're planning a trip this summer, check the Highway Hotline at hotline.gov.sk.ca/map. The Highway Hotline provides up-to-date information on construction, emergency road closures, the status of ferries, barges and other road activities. A weekly construction update is also published at saskatchewan.ca to provide the travelling public with the latest information.