Cpl. Rodney Levesque was patrolling Highway 16 near Foam Lake last May when he got the call to be on the lookout for a vehicle that had nearly run down a flag person in a work zone. Cpl. Levesque caught the vehicle going 137 kilometres per hour after exiting the work zone.
“When I asked the driver what she was thinking and why she ignored the flag person, she said she had slowed down close to 60 kilometres per hour and that should have been good enough,” said Cpl. Levesque, a member with SE Traffic Services Yorkton RCMP. “She said she was in a hurry and had no intention of stopping for anything, or anyone, else.”
That included the flag person directing traffic while the highway was down to one single lane alternating between westbound and eastbound traffic. The driver simply pulled up and passed everyone that had stopped, went around the flag person and into oncoming traffic.
The driver was charged for disobeying a flag person, driving without reasonable consideration of others, and speeding. The resulting tickets totalled $624.
According to Cpl. Levesque, stories like these are all too common. Thankfully no one was hurt that time, but it could have turned out differently. Statistics show that in 2012, there were 178 collisions in work zones around the province. One person was killed and 56 others were injured. Furthermore, 1,347 people were convicted of speeding in work zones in 2013.
To help draw attention to the dangers of speeding in work zones, SGI is partnering with law enforcement to make it the focus of April’s traffic safety spotlight. Police will be paying particular attention this month to drivers speeding through both highway and municipal work zones. Photo speed enforcement is also in use in highway work zones around the province.
“A lot of drivers, especially ones that get into collisions, haven’t given themselves enough time to get to where they’re going,” said Cpl. Levesque. “There’s simply too much impatience out there. Know that once you go beyond the posted speed limit, you lessen your survivability if you get in a crash.”
Work zone speed limits and rules vary by municipality. In highway work zones, drivers must slow to 60 kilometres per hour. Whether a highway or municipal work zone, drivers should slow down and follow the directions of work zone signs and flag persons at all times.
This summer, traffic laws are changing in the province. SGI is amending the Safe Driver Recognition program so that drivers face penalties when they’re travelling at 35 kilometres per hour over the speed limit, rather than the current 50 kilometres per hour. New laws are anticipated to be passed during this sitting of the Legislature, with a targeted effective date by end of June. For more information, visit SGI’s website at www.sgi.sk.ca.