Exclusive Q&A: Greg Park, Superintendent of the Saskatchewan Highway Patrol

May 23, 2024

The Saskatchewan Trucking Association (STA) recently reached out to the Saskatchewan Highway Patrol with some questions about operational protocols and regulations. We're doing this to help trucking companies better understand compliance requirements and enforcement practices.

Exclusive Q&A: Greg Park, Superintendent of the Saskatchewan Highway Patrol

What are the main challenges or concerns that you and your team encounter while patrolling the highways?
The main challenges we face include speeding and aggressive driving behaviours, especially on open stretches of highway where drivers may be less cautious. Impaired driving due to alcohol and drugs continues to be a major concern on the roads, and distracted driving, particularly from mobile device use, poses significant risks. Our teams also enforce weight restrictions for more than 26,000 kilometres of highway in the province.


Could you share any recent trends or observations regarding safety issues on the highways that carriers and drivers should be aware of?
We have observed an increase in commercial trucking traffic, and an increase in impaired commercial drivers operating vehicles. They could be impaired from drugs, alcohol or a combination of both. Some of the common vehicle violations we see are brake systems, lights, cargo securement and tires. Drivers should also be aware of the rules around Electronic Logging Devices as they move away from logbooks.


How does your team typically address or mitigate safety risks on the highways?
Our team regularly enforces traffic laws to deter unsafe driving practices like speeding, impaired driving and distracted driving. We also conduct safety checks and inspections on commercial vehicles to ensure they meet Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) international standards. Our officers will remove unsafe drivers and vehicles from roadways until the concern is corrected or a specific amount of time has elapsed. We also engage in educational campaigns to raise awareness about safe driving behaviours.


Can you describe any successful initiatives or strategies that have been implemented to improve highway safety?
We have implemented targeted enforcement campaigns in areas known for high rates of violations, leading to a reduction in speeding and other unsafe behaviours. Our officers are also proactive and conduct inspections to identify at-risk drivers/vehicles and take necessary action which prevent serious injuries or death. We partner with local schools and community groups to help us reach younger drivers and promote safe driving habits from an early age.


Weigh Scale Officer

What advice or recommendations would you offer to carriers and drivers to enhance safety practices on the highways?
Carriers should ensure their drivers receive proper training and follow safety regulations, such as maintaining adequate rest and adhering to speed limits. Drivers should remain vigilant and avoid distractions, such as using mobile devices while driving. Both carriers and drivers should stay informed about weather conditions and adjust their driving accordingly. Our agency participates in several enforcement activities throughout the year with specific focuses. These focuses are targeted and corrected through education and typical enforcement actions. These activities are highly visible and provide opportunities for drivers/carriers to stop in and ask questions.

 

How does collaboration with other stakeholders, such as law enforcement agencies or transportation authorities, contribute to improving road safety?
We collaborate with other law enforcement agencies and transportation authorities to share information and conduct joint operations, which strengthens our overall efforts in ensuring road safety. These collaborations help in standardizing enforcement and improving compliance across jurisdictions. Working with other agencies and stakeholders also allows officers to gain new knowledge and pass on their knowledge and experience to those around them.


Are there any upcoming projects or initiatives aimed at further promoting road safety that you could share with us?
We are planning to increase the use of automated enforcement tools to monitor and address safety concerns more efficiently. We will also be participating in an annual project called CVSA Road Check. This project takes place on the same days in all jurisdictions within North America. We are also working on educational campaigns in collaboration with private organizations to promote safer driving practices.


In your opinion, what are the most pressing issues or priorities that need to be addressed to enhance overall highway safety?
Tackling distracted driving remains a top priority due to its high potential for causing accidents. Enhancing safety measures for commercial vehicles is also crucial, as trucking traffic continues to grow. We also need to ensure new drivers are trained to a high standard and can safely operate these vehicles and that drivers are not operating vehicles while fatigued or longer than is regulated.

Ensure you take a moment to read Safety on the Prairies on page 30! This insightful piece was authored by one of our esteemed members from Hopfe Training Centre Incorporated.

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