NDP MLA introduces private member's bill following tragic death of highways department employee Jim Gallenger.
Regina (5 May 2009) - The Saskatchewan Legislature has passed a law to help keep snowplow operators safe while working on the highway.
Motorists in Saskatchewan will be required by law to slow to 60 km/h when passing snowplows and other highway vehicles when warning beacons are flashing, whether they are stopped on the side of the road or moving along it.
This change was suggested by Sharon Gallenger, whose husband Jim, a ministry of highways snowplow operator since 1984, was tragically killed in January 2009 while coming to the aid of a stranded motorist on the highway near Belle Plaine. NDP MLA Kim Trew introduced the legislation on behalf of Mrs. Gallenger.
"Jim Gallenger was a dedicated and valued member of the highways and infrastructure family whose legacy will help to ensure motorists slow down when passing maintenance equipment," said Highways Minister Wayne Elhard. "Our government is committed to providing safer workplaces for our employees, be it through better equipment, training or legislation."
The ministry has 300 snowplows stationed at 85 locations across the province. Snowplows are on the road before, during and after storms and are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
"I continue to be grateful for the dedication and guidance the Gallenger family has provided members of the Legislature in drafting and passing this bill," Trew said. "It is comforting to know that Jim's life was not lost in vain and that through this tragedy, highway workers in Saskatchewan and families all across the province can feel an added level of safety on the road."
This legislation comes into force on July 1 and is in line with an existing law requiring motorists to slow to 60 km/h for emergency vehicles and tow trucks stopped on the highway, or when passing highway workers in the orange zone. Fines for all of these offences start at $140.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE