Emergency Vehicle Lights
Whereas emergency vehicles are operated under conditions and circumstances when there is a danger to life and property; and
Whereas the skills, foresight, and judgement required to operate such vehicles, often under extremely hazardous conditions, and where a speedy response is vital, is far above that required of other types of drivers; and
Whereas a speed limit of 60km/hr is required when passing an emergency vehicle with the exemption of a) if the vehicle is being driven on a divided highway, or b) the vehicle is travelling on the opposite roadway from the emergency vehicle as per Section 204(1) of The Traffic Safety Act.
Whereas the lighting currently used on emergency vehicles creates low visibility of emergency vehicles and traffic users fail to slow down when passing a scene; and
Whereas blue lighting is being installed on tow trucks in the province and the lighting creates higher visibility then amber or red lighting when traffic users pass emergency vehicles;
Therefore be it resolved that SUMA advocate Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI) to have all emergency vehicles equipped with blue flashing lights when emergency vehicles are stopped on scene and that all emergency vehicles display flashing lights while on scene. This will ensure emergency vehicles are visible to all traffic users and ensure traffic users slow down when passing a scene.
ACTS AFFECTED: The Traffic Safety Act
REGION/SECTOR AFFECTED: All
May 16, 2022
Randy Goulden SUMA President firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear Randy Goulden:
Thank you for the opportunity to participate in the 117th Annual SUMA Convention and to respond to your resolutions regarding the use of blue lights on emergency vehicles and speed limits when passing emergency vehicles.
I'm pleased to advise our government recently amended The Vehicle Equipment Regulations to allow more emergency vehicles to add blue flashing lights to their existing lights. The new law impacts ambulances and fire-fighting vehicles as well as emergency vehicles that have been designated by a municipality or the Highway Traffic Board to be used in response to an emergency. Like you, we believe this change is a way to protect the people who care for us in life's most extreme situations. The blue lights improve their visibility and help keep our first responders and other road users safe.
In regard to the resolution to reduce the speed limit when passing emergency vehicles from 60 km/h to 40 km/h, our government and SGI feel this change would come with significant unintended safety issues and could cause incidents such as more rear-end crashes and jack knifing for semis, especially in winter. Drivers expect that vehicles on a highway will be
travelling at or close to the posted speed limit so to reduce speeds from 110 km/h or 100 km/h to 40 km/h requires advance notice or warning, usually through progressive signage, to drivers at a distance upstream of the effective speed change. This allows drivers the time to perceive, react and slow down safely and is particularly important at night and in the winter. Emergency vehicle operators stopped at the side of a highway would be required to install such signage every time they stopped, which is impractical. At this time, changing the speed limit when passing emergency vehicles is not being considered.
I commend the members or SUMA for their continuing dedication to keeping our roads safe and thank you for submitting the resolutions for consideration.
Don Morgan, Q.C.
Minister Responsible for SGl
cc: Jeff Stepan, Acting President and CEO, SGI