Safety Zone When Passing Road Equipment
Res #: 13-04A
Responses Received: No
Departments: Saskatchewan Highways & Transportation
Resolution No. 13-04A
WHEREAS, there is an "Orange Zone" for highway traffic workers, where vehicles must slow down to 60 km per hour (section 37 of The Highway Traffic Act); and
WHEREAS, there is a "Safety Zone" when passing emergency vehicles (police cars, ambulances); and
WHEREAS, a municipality's graders, mowers, and other road work equipment are working on the roads and road allowances and it is unreasonable to post speed reduction signs when maintaining roads; and
WHEREAS, the traveling public does not usually slow down when passing municipal road working equipment, making it dangerous to the equipment operators and the traveling public;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that we request the Provincial Government to enact a "Safety Zone" when passing municipal road working equipment, where the traveling public would need to slow down or face severe penalties.
Response from Honourable Maynard Sonntag, Minister of Highways and Transportation:
I want to commend the residents and officials from the RM of Baildon for the genuine concern expressed in the resolution regarding worker safety and the proposed enactment of a "Safety Zone" for municipal workers. However, the current statutory provisions contained in The Highways Traffic Act (section 37), an Act I am responsible for in my capacity as Minister responsible for Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI) and an Act administered by SGI, apply to all roads in Saskatchewan with the exception of roads in urban centers with a population greater than 1,000 and roads within national parks.
In 2002-03, Saskatchewan Highways and Transportation assessed safe operating procedures on all work practices, which included a review of maintenance practices such as mowing and grading of gravel highways. The assessment concluded that an Orange Zone type of designation was not warranted during road maintenance since the equipment itself provides protection to the operator.
The resolution speaks to the "Orange Zone" for highway workers and a "Safety Zone" for emergency vehicles. The "Orange Zone" is simply an identification and public communication tool utilized by the Department of Highways and Transportation and intended to give "identity" to the provisions contained in The Highway Traffic Act. The Orange Zone and/or Safety Zone are not embodied in statute or regulation. However, the 60 km/h speed limit is a regulatory requirement if appropriate signage is in place.
If you wish to explore this matter further, please feel free to contact Mr. Stu Armstrong, Assistant Deputy Minister of Operations.