Released on June 30, 2015
Police Watching for Aggressive Drivers in Work Zones this July
When we’re in a hurry, signs like “Construction Zone Ahead” and “Workers Present” may seem like an inconvenience. However, as warmer summer months kick off the construction season in Saskatchewan, drivers are urged to consider the true costs associated with speeding in work zones.
A record $842 million highways budget coupled with a short construction season means an abundance of work will take place on Saskatchewan roads and highways this summer. Construction crews dedicated to improving our roads are depending on motorists to drive responsibly and keep them safe in work zones.
For that reason, Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI), Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure and provincial law enforcement are partnering to make work zones the focus of July’s traffic safety spotlight. Police will be paying particular attention to drivers speeding and demonstrating other aggressive driving behaviours, such as stunting, racing or passing to the right on a highway.
“Crews building and repairing highways often work near moving vehicles, so we need to ensure every precaution is taken so they can work safely,” Highways and Infrastructure Minister Nancy Heppner said. “Our ministry has implemented a number of safety measures to protect them but ultimately it is up to the drivers to follow the rules and pay close attention.”
Base fines for speeding in highway work zones are triple that of a regular speeding ticket when workers are present. They start at $210 and increase for each additional kilometre over the posted speed limit. New laws enacted last summer mandate that drivers face additional penalties when they’re travelling at 35 km/hr or more over the posted speed limit.
“While the financial costs are significant, the real costs are impacts on human life,” Minister responsible for SGI Don McMorris said. “Aggressive driving in work zones not only puts motorists and their vehicles at risk, it also needlessly endangers the lives of workers and other road users.”
Preliminary numbers for 2014 show there were 201 collisions in work zones in Saskatchewan, resulting in 48 injuries. In addition, 774 people were convicted for speeding in work zones. SGI and the Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure remind motorists to exercise both patience and caution in work zones, and follow these tips:
Work zone safety introduced in recent years in the province includes legal black and white regulatory speed limits, photo speed enforcement and increased signage.
- Slow to 60 km/hr when passing highway workers, flag people or equipment occupied by a worker, within signed work zones, or when passing equipment with amber warning lights on.
- Avoid distractions and be on alert for workers and other road hazards.
- Be proactive by becoming aware of potential work on your route beforehand and allow extra travel time to get to your destination.
- Remember that traffic rules and speed limits apply to both highway and municipal work zones, even when workers are not present.
- Some cities have bylaws requiring drivers to obey work zone speed limits through the entire construction area, so be familiar with the bylaws in your area.
Visit SGI’s website at www.sgi.sk.ca for more information on work zones, speeding, traffic fines and to learn how #wecandrivebetter. You can also visit the Highway Hotline for more information about road closures and other road activities at www.saskatchewan.ca/live/transportation/highway-hotline.
For more information, contact:
Saskatchewan Government Insurance
Highways and Infrastructure