With the Saskatchewan summer road construction season in full swing, police will be targeting drivers speeding through work zones.
The Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI) July work zone traffic safety blitz will also target aggressive drivers, those ignoring construction signs and illegal passing.
“Road safety is everyone’s responsibility, and drivers need to be extra diligent when there are workers on the road,” said Earl Cameron, the executive vice-president of SGI’s auto fund.
“Those workers depend on you to slow down, pay attention and respect work zone signage so they can get home safely to their own loved ones at the end of the day.”
In 2014, there were 203 collisions in work zones, resulting in one death and 48 injuries, and 811 speeding convictions. In 2013, 1,347 drivers were convicted for speeding in work zones.
Last year, three teens from Carrot River, Sask. were killed and a flag person injured in a work zone crash.
The car the teens were in was rear-ended by semi while they were stopped in a construction zone on Highway 6 near Spalding, Sask. on May 3, 2015.
The force of the crash sent the car into a truck, which then collided with a flag person.
He was critically injured and is still recovering.
Fines for speeding in work zone start at $210, along with four demerit points. Fines triple if workers are present.
Changes were made to Saskatchewan traffic laws following the death of flag person Ashley Richards.
Richards, who was 18 and pregnant, was working her very first shift on Aug. 24, 2012 when she was struck and killed on Highway 6 near Midale, Sask.
Kenneth Dunford was convicted of dangerous driving causing death and sentenced to two years less a day. He is currently out on bail pending an appeal of his conviction.
Richard’s death prompted the Saskatchewan government to increase fines along with bringing in photo radar.
SGI is reminding drivers of the following tips to ensure all road users are safe when travelling through construction zones:
- Slow to 60 km/h in highway work zones or the posted speed limit in municipal work zones.;
- Follow the directions of work zone signs at all times;
- Avoid distractions and be alert for workers, equipment and other hazards;
- Plan your route ahead of time to avoid work zones or allow extra travel time;
- Posted speed limits are in effect even when workers are not present – there could be a sharp drop-off or rough road surface; and
- Drive with courtesy and patience for all drivers and workers.