New Speed Limit Fines For Construction Zones Go Into Effect On March 31, 2006
With road construction season soon upon us, local residents are reminded that the fines for being caught speeding in construction zones are doubling as of March 31, 2006.

Police and other groups are supporting a call for the reinstatement of photo radar to protect road crews from speeding drivers as the provinces gets set to double fines next week.

Newly appointed Ontario Road Builders' Association president Terry Willms says while fines double effective March 31 for those caught speeding through road construction zones, it's almost impossible to enforce because it's too dangerous for cruisers to pursue the cars in work areas. 

"It works in Manitoba ," said Willms, who represents the province's 102 contractors and 85 associate members who build, repair and maintain the province's networks of roads and highways.

"They use photo radar in construction zones, school zones and at some intersections." 

Many people oppose photo radar, however, it is being promoted as the best solution for construction zone safety. This is one of those situations where photo radar may just make the roads safer, especially for construction workers.

On March 31, amendments to the Highway Traffic Act under Bill 169, the Transportation Statute Law Amendment Act, 2005, will take effect, including doubling fines for speeding in construction zones and creating a new offence for disobeying a traffic control person with a three-demerit point penalty. Fines and ranges generally are also changing across the board.

As such, the fines for being one to 19 kilometres an hour over the posted limit in a construction zone are double the going rate at $6 per kilometre, and for 20 km/h to 30 km/h are $9 per kilometre and it increases to $14 per kilometre for up to 49 km/h over the limit. For those caught doing 50 km/h over the posted limit in a zone, it's going to cost $19.50 per kilometre.

A $5 court fee and the Victims of Crime surcharge are always extra, the latter increasing with the fine while demerit points also apply. 

There has also been the creation of a new middle speeding bracket to 20 km/h to 29 km/h from the original 20 km/h to 34 km/h over the limit. Now, getting caught between 30 km/h and 34 km/h will cost $7 per kilometre instead of the $3.75 it used to cost because it's been lumped into the new bracket of 30 km/h to 49 km/h. The fine is doubled in a construction zone. 

Drivers must also remember that a new law that demands that you slow to 60 km/h when travelling through a construction zone or passing emergency vehicles police, fire, ambulance and tow trucks when their lights are flashing. There is no need to post speed limit signs. The law states that you must slow down to 60 km per hour.

Construction season is upon us. Drive carefully or be prepared to pay the price.

Travelling from Canmore to Calgary , she passed an RCMP cruiser that had stopped another vehicle and had its lights flashing. While her speed of 106 km/h was under the speed limit, she'd unwittingly violated a new law that demands drivers slow to 60 km/h when travelling through a construction zone or passing emergency vehicles police, fire, ambulance and tow trucks when their lights are flashing.

Despite protestations, she'd never heard of the law, she was handed a $632 ticket.

Sgt. Woolley says police have little discretion. "We can drop it down perhaps to save points but if they have a hard luck story, the best course is to take it to court because the justices of the peace have more discretion with the fines."

CAA's Barnier says in some cases photo radar can be a useful tool when used properly.

"If there are signs notifying motorists they are in a photo zone and that it's treated not as a revenue generator, then we would support it," said Barnier.

"The most effective way to stop speeding is with a police presence. However, we support the doubling of fines in construction zones and we welcome working with ORBA to make those zones safer."



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