October 31, 2012

Saskatchewan quickly triples workzone speeding fines

The largest fines in Canada for drivers caught speeding in a construction zone became effective today in Saskatchewan, only two months after a flagger was hit and killed near Midale.

“We are just happy that the government and the premier have been able to put things into place so quickly,” said Josh Safronetz, operations manager with HJR Asphalt, a Saskatoon-based Paving Contractor.

On Nov. 1, the Saskatchewan government tripled the fine for drivers, who are caught speeding in construction zones.

This was implemented in response to the death of an 18-year-old traffic control person named Ashley Dawn Richards on Aug. 24.

The fine for speeding in a construction zone, which is known as an Orange zone in Saskatchewan, has been increased to $210. ..dThis is triple the base fine.

Driver will also be fined an additional $2 to $3 dollars for every kilometre an hour they are caught speeding 60 km/h to 90 km/h over the limit.

In addition, there is a further increase from $4 to $6 for every km/h in excess of 90 km/h over the limit. Richards was working for HJR Asphalt, when she was hit by a speeding vehicle on Highway 39 about eight kilometres north of Midale, Saskatchewan. She was pregnant and working her first day on the job with a road construction crew at the time of her death.

In September, Saskatchewan RCMP launched a province wide safety blitz to catch speeders in construction zones using non-traditional enforcement methods, which involved officers wearing a construction outfit to observe drivers and make speed measurements.

"The RCMP dedicated Traffic Unit has written over 415 tickets for speeding in a construction zone throughout the past two months," said RCMP F Division Sgt. Paul Dawson.

"Our members have been vigilant in enforcing the Saskatchewan Traffic Safety Act throughout the fall construction season. Our message for those travelling in the Orange Zone is it shouldn't take a ticket to make you slow down and save lives."

Saskatchewan Government Insurance and the Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure will work together to ensure that proper signage is in place to notify motorists that the fine for speeding in a construction zone has tripled.

Signs will also inform drivers that photo radar will be used next construction season.

“There is not a lot of road construction working taking place in the winter, so this will be alright as long as the photo radar is ready in the spring,” said Safronetz.

Lieutenant-Governor Vaughn Solomon Schofield announced during the throne speech on Oct. 25 that the Saskatchewan Party will introduce photo radar in construction zones.

This fall, the Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure is planning to install rumble strips in prioritized work zones. In addition, gates that narrow the approach to construction zones will be installed. Both devices are intended to slow traffic to 60 km/h in construction zones.

The ministry will review the effectiveness of these devices and develop guidelines for their use at other locations starting in the 2013 construction season.

A Regina man, Keith Dunford, 44, was charged on Oct. 22 by Saskatchewan RCMP under the criminal code with criminal negligence causing death and dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death for his alleged involvement with the Richard’s fatality.

News from © Canadian Press Enterprises Inc., 2012

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