Bill 5 would toughen rules to protect roadside workers, government says

If passed, the government says it will put out an educational campaign for all drivers prior to the anticipated enforcement date of spring 2023.

Between March 2018 and March 2021, there were 128 collisions involving snowplows contracted by Alberta Transportation, according to information released by the Government of Alberta Wednesday when it tables Bill 5, the Traffic Safety Amendment Act.

The government says that Bill would toughen rules to protect all roadside workers by requiring all motorists travelling in the same direction to slow down to at least 60 km/h when passing a stopped roadside worker vehicle with its lights flashing. The amendments also require those travelling in the opposite direction on single-lane highways to slow down to 60 km/h when passing.

The UCP says the proposed changes give roadside maintenance workers and snowplow operators similar protection to what first responders and tow truck operators currently have under the Traffic Safety Act.

“Roadside 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,” said Minister of Transportation Rajan Sawhney in a media release Wednesday afternoon. “That’s why, following consultations with the public and stakeholders, Alberta’s government is proposing these changes to protect all those working along our highways.”

In a survey conducted by the province from March 16 to April 6, 2021, in which 15,000 people responded, 92 per cent supported requiring all vehicles to provide one lane of space when passing a roadside worker vehicle when its lights are flashing, and 60 felt that the current passing laws were inadequate.

Depending on the speed involved, current fines for passing an emergency vehicle range from $136 to $826.

If passed, the government says it will put out an educational campaign for all drivers prior to the anticipated enforcement date of spring 2023.

compiled by Stephen Dafoe

 

 

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