POP: Speed When Passing Municipal Equipment and Workers

POP: Yes
Res #: POP 10-07A
Number: 10
Year: 2007
Midterm: No
Expired: Yes
Responses Received: No
Departments: Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI)

POP No. 10-07A
Speed Limit When Passing Municipal Equipment and Workers

WHEREAS, emergency vehicles on provincial highways displaying appropriate warning lights by law require oncoming traffic to reduce their speed to 60 km/hr; and

WHEREAS, municipal equipment such as graders do not have the same protection;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that SARM lobby the provincial government to immediately pass legislation to provide the same protection on municipal roads to municipal equipment and municipal workers.

Response from Harry Van Mulligen – Minister Responsible for SGI 

SGI is concerned about overall road safety and is continually promoting safe driving habits for all drivers.  Laws regarding emergency vehicles are very specific and focus on the emergency situation. 

Section 204 of the Traffic Safety Act states: 

“Speed limits when passing emergency vehicles:
204(1)  No person shall drive a vehicle on a highway at a speed greater than 60 kilometers per hour when passing an emergency vehicle that is stopped on the highway with its emergency lights in operation.” 

This section of the legislation is strictly for emergency situations for law enforcement, ambulance and fire fighting vehicles that are stopped at the side of the road rendering assistance or enforcing the law.  On-coming traffic is not required to slow to 60 kilometers when these emergency vehicles are not stopped. 

SGI understands the request from municipalities wanting the legislation to include reducing the speed limit when passing municipal equipment, however, it is SGI’s view that The Traffic Safety Act does protect municipal workers and vehicles within the safety provisions regarding passing highway workers and highway equipment. 

Section 203 of The Traffic Safety Act states:

 “Speed limits when passing highway workers:
203(1)  No person shall drive a vehicle on a highway at a speed greater than 60 kilometres per hour when passing:   

          (b) any highway equipment occupied by a highway worker, whose presence on the highway is marked in the 
          manner determined in the regulations made by the board.”

The requirements for marking the highway can be found in The Highway Worker Identification Regulations, which state the following: 

“Marking of presence of highway workers
2        For the purposes of subsection 37 (1) of the Highway Traffic Act; 

              (a) the presence of highway workers or any highway equipment occupied by a highway worker on a highway is to
              be marker by the erection of a sign that:

                     (i) displays a black symbol of a highway worker on an orange background;
(ii) is placed not more than three kilometers in advance of the actual location of the highway workers or any 
                     equipment occupied by a highway worker;

                     (iii) is a minimum size of 60 centimetres by 60 centimetres; and
(iv) is reflectorized or illuminated at night; 

              (b) the presence of flagpersons on a highway is to be marked in  accordance with clause (a) and, in addition:
                    (i) flagpersons shall wear a brightly coloured vest, shirt or jacket that is not covered by any other clothing or
(ii) flagpersons shall use a paddle that is a minimum size of 450 millimetres by 450 millimetres and that
                    displays the word “stop” on one side and the word “slow” on the other side; and
(iii) vest, shirts or jackets worn as required by subclause (i) and paddles used as required by subclause (ii) are
                    to be reflectorized at night.”

Municipal workers are protected as long as they set out the appropriate signage and markers or use flagpersons.  The cost of the necessary signage and markers is minimal and has proven much more effective than just having the law to reduce speed with no signage or markers. 

In summary, The Traffic Safety Act, Section 203 (1) Speed limits when passing highway workers and related regulations adequately covers municipal workers, while the intent of Section 204(1) is to protect emergency workers who are stopped at the side of the road rendering assistance.