Province delays new roadside safety rules for six months

Alberta roadside worker safety rules

by Morinville Online Staff

Long-awaited changes to provide roadside worker safety to all roadside workers, scheduled to take place Mar. 1, were delayed until Sept. 1 at the last minute.

The changes will require drivers to slow down to 60 km/hr or lower (if posted) when passing snow plows and roadside maintenance teams, as is currently the case with first responders, road crews and tow trucks. This would be the case in all lanes going in the same direction on divided highways and in either direction on single-lane highways.

The delay, the province says, is to allow time for a public education campaign on the changes and associated penalties. The government did not indicate why they didn’t start the campaign when the Traffic Safety Amendment Act received Royal Assent in the April of 2022, given the province said at the time that an education campaign would follow the Bill’s passing.

Instead, the Province says the Ministry of Transportation and Economic Corridors will “partner with industry partners to prepare a two- to three-month education campaign so motorists are not surprised on the launch date and won’t receive unexpected tickets for incorrectly passing roadside workers at higher speeds.”

Between March 2018 and March 2021, there were 128 collisions involving snowplows contracted by Alberta Transportation, which led to the development of the Amendment Act.

Transportation and Economic Corridors has also extended the registrar’s exemption to permit the use of flashing blue lights to increase the visibility of tow trucks, support vehicles, government-contracted snowplows and highway maintenance vehicles for five years, following an initial one-year blue light pilot project.

The government says it will provide more information on the rollout of the education campaign in the coming weeks.

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