According to court testimony by the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary (RNC), an accident in which a car veered into a crew of road workers on a St. John’s highway was largely due to a lack of road signs in the area before the work zone.
The accident occurred about three years ago, on July 5, 2011. about 1 PM, as a work crew from the city of St. John’s, the Newfoundland Department of Transportation and Works (DTW) and Irving Oil Co. assembled on a portion of the TransCanada Highway to inspect the roadway for premature erosion. It was then that the driver of an SUV swerved to avoid crashing into the vehicle in front of him, then lost control of his vehicle and slammed into three road workers, one of whom died.
For the accident, the City of St. John’s and DTW are each facing seven charges for violations of the provincial Occupational Health and Safety Act, while Irving oil faced six counts. And in open court, RNC Constable Barry Osmond, who is the lead police investigator, testified that there was nothing on the road warning drivers that they should be aware of road workers road or that they should slow down. He also noted that, of the nine workers at the worksite, only three were wearing high visibility gear, including one of the workers who was hit. There was no signage before the worksite; the only warning available to oncoming traffic that the worksite even existed was a small amber light on top of one DTW vehicle. He cited all of these are significant factors that led to the accident.
The driver of the SUV was inexperienced, having only been licenced for three months at the time, but he is not facing any charges, and the Constable felt he was not at fault in the accident, in part because of the lack of evidence of any distractions or that he did anything wrong. He said that, based on the evidence, drivers were coming up on these vehicles stopped on the road, and one of them slow down, causing a bit of a chain reaction.