As any commuter or carrier knows, rest areas are lacking in our province, creating significant challenges for the truck transport community. The Saskatchewan Trucking Association (STA) is currently engaged in advocating for improved stopping infrastructure in the province having formed a working committee with the Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure to identify gaps on the highway network so we can begin to take steps to improving and enhancing this infrastructure.
The rest area is a big part of the quality of life for all drivers. Like any profession, having access to bathrooms and safe spaces are an important aspect of doing your job. Consequently, Saskatchewan carriers and drivers feel that their needs are overlooked, with one STA members saying, “we as an industry are scrutinized more and more for safety and given no place for drivers to rest.”
Hearing the concerns of our members, the STA recently conducted a survey on the current state of rest areas in the province to gather further data to help advance the interests of our members. Overall, 86.6% of respondents feel that stopping infrastructure in Saskatchewan is in poor condition. Of the 45 respondents, 0.0% stated the current rest stop infrastructure is in either Great or Good condition. Furthermore, an overwhelming majority of respondents have been inconvenienced by the lack of suitable parking along the highway network, with 86.6% of respondents saying they have had to change a planned overnight stop due to a lack of adequate parking.
Each day, truck drivers are governed by sets of regulations both provincially and nationally, one of the regulations being the National Safety Code (NSC). The NSC is a code of minimum performance standards, applying to all persons responsible for the safe operation of commercial vehicles. NSC Standard 9 -Hours of Service Regulations, NSC Standard 10 -Cargo Securement Checks and NSC Standard 13- Trip Inspections, all require commercial drivers to stop the truck. From checking cargo to doing a trip inspection, stopping the vehicle is required by law. These regulations are put into place for the safety of both the truck driver and other road users. Unfortunately, in Saskatchewan, there is a very limited number of places that this can safely be done.
As an industry advocate, the STA’s highest priority is safety and we believe upgrading stopping infrastructure in Saskatchewan is a critical step to ensuring that all roads lead to safety.