Slow down when passing highway workers

Lisa Goudy
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I am constantly amazed by how many people speed through construction zones on the highway.

It’s right in the middle of construction season and, yes, there are highways that need the road repairs. Even though there always seems to be construction when the weather is nice, the work the workers do is important to keep our highways in the best condition possible.

I say that I am amazed, not that I am surprised. People speed regularly, especially on highways. I know this because I make sure to always drive the speed limit and there are constantly cars passing me when I drive on the highway. What bothers me is when there are those orange zones with people working on the roads and people just go whizzing by.

It’s not too much to ask for drivers to slow down to 60 kilometres an hour when passing workers on the highway. Not only is it terrifying for the workers in the highway construction zones, also called orange zones, but also not slowing down can and has resulted in something even worse — death.

Close to the end of August, 18-year-old Ashley Dawn Richards from Lakeside, N.B., was killed while she was working as a flag person near Midale, Saskatchewan on Highway 39. Richards, who was also pregnant at the time, had recently moved with her fiancé to Saskatchewan to start a family. She was hit by a northbound SUV and was taken to hospital, but was pronounced dead on arrival.

On Wednesday, Saskatchewan Highways Minister Don McMorris announced the province would pay the overtime for extra RCMP officers in highway construction zones until the end of the construction season.

In a CBC article, McMorris said that there are approximately 175 tickets issued per year, but more ticketing is needed.

It is a shame that it takes a fatal incident for people to realize they need to pay more attention or do a little more enforcing. What’s more is that if people would just slow down to 60 km/h in construction zones, these types of horrific situations wouldn’t happen.

I will never understand why people don’t slow down when passing workers. Ignoring the fact that the minimum fine for speeding in an orange zone starts at $140 with an additional $2 for every km/h over 60, you are putting people’s lives at stake by not slowing down when they are working. If you don’t slow down, you might end up hurting somebody. You can’t take that away.

It's not too much to ask. The law requiring you to slow down is in place for a reason. So just do the right thing and slow down to 60 km/h when passing workers in an orange zone. Do your part to keep construction workers as safe as you can while they’re busy keeping the roads in the best possible shape.

Organizations: Saskatchewan on Highway 39, RCMP, CBC

Geographic location: Midale, Saskatchewan

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