October 1, 2012
Saskatchewan cracks down on workzone speeding
Saskatchewan RCMP are conducting a province wide safety blitz to catch speeders in construction zones using non-traditional enforcement methods, after a flagger was killed recently on Highway 39.
“We have been doing this type of enforcement for a long time or at least as long as I can remember, said Sgt. Ron MacRae spokesperson for RCMP North Central Traffic Services.
“However, the issue this time around is to increase awareness, as a result of a fatality recently near Midale. We had meetings involving provincial highway engineers, contractors and the police, which came to the decision there was a need for more enforcement.”
The RCMP patrolled construction sites near the communities of Langham, Delmas, and Weyakwin, in order to enforce the Orange Zone speed limits in North Central Saskatchewan.
The safety blitz is in response to the death of traffic control person Ashley Dawn Richards, 18, who was killed about eight kilometres north of Midale, Saskatchewan on Aug. 24.
Richards was working in the construction zone when she was hit by an SUV, being driven by a 44-year-old adult male.
The driver was arrested at the scene and taken into custody.
He was released the next day and formal charges are pending.
“With this incident and the concern for the issue of safety, we decided to do a high profile traffic blitz for the rest of the year,” said MacRae. “The provincial government is providing additional funding for greater enforcement pressure in construction zones.”
The highways and infrastructure minister has voiced his support of the blitz.
“Our government will not tolerate speeding through the Orange Zone,” said Don McMorris.
“Our first priority is to keep our highways workers safe. In the coming weeks, we will be announcing further measures to protect workers and ensure drivers are driving safely in the Orange Zone.”
According to the RCMP, a total of 32 speeding in construction zone tickets were written on Sept. 21, with speeds of offenders reaching 110 km/h.
“We made public plans and made several announcements about the blitz and followed through,” said MacRae.
“The provincial engineers gave us a list of the locations for construction sites, which we are using to plan our activity. We did the enforcement and had a very good result.”
Other charges as a result of the enforcement action included driving with an unrestrained child, and driving without due care.
The RCMP also handed out 15 written warnings and one vehicle was seized as part of the enforcement.
“We used non-traditional enforcement, where we typically will have a member wearing a construction outfit to observe drivers and make speed measurements,” said MacRae.
“We let our members use their creativity, as long as it is legal, moral and ethical.”
Motorists are required by law to slow to 60 kilometres per hour where Orange Zone signs are erected and workers are present.
Fines start at $140 and increase by two dollars for every km/h over the speed limit up to 90 km/h.
For speeds in excess of 90 km/h, the fine increases by four dollars for every km/h above the speed limit.
Police could also hand out tickets for driving without due care or reasonable attention, which results in 4 demerit points and a $240 fine.
The safety of flaggers is also a big issue in B.C., where the provincial government recently made a commitment to double the fine for drivers, who are caught speeding in construction zones throughout the province.
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