Some big changes come into effect for drivers in Alberta starting today

Mar 1 2023, 4:01 pm

Some big rule changes come into effect today for drivers in Alberta thanks to alterations to theĀ Traffic Safety Amendment Act last year.

The changes proposed last year came into effect on March 1 and aim to strengthen safety measures to better protect all first responders and roadside workers on Albertaā€™s highways.

The changes includeĀ the requirement that when an emergency, tow truck, or road crew vehicle (including snowplows) is stopped with its flashing lights operating, motorists are required to:

  • Slow down to 60 km/h or the posted speed limit, whichever is lower, in all lanes travelling in the same direction on multi-lane highways; and
  • Slow down to 60 km/h or the posted speed limit, whichever is lower, when travelling in either direction on single-lane highways.

The former rules require motorists to slow down to 60 km/h, or the speed limit, whichever is lower, in the adjacent lane when passing an emergency vehicle or tow truck with its flashing lights activated.

The fines for speeding in these areas are doubled, and the currentĀ fines for passing an emergency vehicle on the side of the road can range from $136 to $826, depending on the speed.

ā€œRoadside workers work in a high-risk environment and deserve the best protection so that they can go home safely to their families at the end of their shift,” Rajan Sawhney, minister of transportation, previously said in a news release.

According to the Government of Alberta, there were 128 collisions with highway snowplows between March 2018 and March 2021. Alberta Motor Association also reported 25 close calls and three serious collisions with service vehicles between January 2018 and July 2019.

Laine MitchellLaine Mitchell

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