Half of Alberta drivers continue to rip through construction zones: Study

Watch above: Half of Alberta drivers speed through construction zones. And, as Fletcher Kent explains, depending on the city and time, that number can even reach 90 per cent.

EDMONTON — Don’t RIP through construction zones. That’s the message Partners in Road Construction Safety have been trying to send to Alberta drivers for years, but it appears as though about half still aren’t getting the message.

“High vehicle traffic, people going through our barricades, passing by our flag people when they’re clearly trying to stop the people,” said Zdenko Petrovic, a project manager with the City of Edmonton’s Transportation Services Department.

“You see tons of signs on the road, but they’re still not getting it.”

Throughout the summer construction season, PIRCS has been using speed cameras in various construction zones in five Alberta cities: Edmonton, Calgary, Fort McMurray, Medicine Hat and Red Deer.

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The group says it’s counted about three million vehicles in the past few months. Of those, about half have been speeding.

“That’s a million and a half cars just in these five zones across Alberta,” said Heidi Harris-Jensen, with the Alberta Roadbuilders & Heavy Construction Association.

“It was a little bit of a surprise and definitely a disappointment,” she said.

The data shows when and where speeders are at their worst. The statistics show Edmontonians tend to slow down more than others. But at night in Red Deer, the statistics show upwards of 90 per cent of drivers are ripping through construction zones.

“It’s a very high-risk behaviour. There’s at least one or two people who are killed in these zones each year,” said Harris-Jensen.

Speeding statistics gathered by Partners in Road Construction Safety.
Speeding statistics gathered by Partners in Road Construction Safety. Credit:

While discouraging, Harris-Jensen hopes the data will help them target their continued education efforts.

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“It’s trying to get to the root so that you can actually change behaviour. That’s our big challenge,” said Harris-Jensen. “I think it’s also one of those things where people know what the right answer to the question is, but it doesn’t mean that they’re actually doing it.”

Those who work in the sites say their number one concern is safety, and they just want everyone to make it home safe and alive.

“Slow down. We’re all trying to do the best we can and keep everyone safe,” said Petrovic. “We’re all dads and moms out there working hard, trying to get home at the end of the day.”

For more information on the statistics, visit PIRCS’s website.

With files from Fletcher Kent, Global News.