Alberta roadside worker safety rules take effect September 1

Alberta roadside worker safety rules

Alberta roadside worker safety rules take effect Sept. 1, 2023.

by Morinville Online Staff

In a significant move to enhance road safety and protect the lives of roadside workers, Alberta’s government has announced new rules that will come into effect starting September 1, 2023. The changes aim to prioritize the safety of workers and drivers on the road, making Alberta roads safer for everyone.

Under the new regulations, drivers in the lane closest to any roadside worker vehicle stopped at the side of the road with its lights flashing must slow down to 60 km/h or the posted speed limit, whichever is lower. Furthermore, drivers are required to move over to the far lane if safe to do so and take reasonable steps to allow other drivers to move over as well.

Previously, only tow truck drivers and first responders were protected under the Traffic Safety Act. However, these new rules expand protection to encompass all roadside workers, including first responders, tow truck operators, highway maintenance workers, and snowplow operators.

Devin Dreeshen, Minister of Transportation and Economic Corridors, emphasized the importance of this change, stating, “This is a common-sense rule change. If you see any flashing lights and people working on the side of the road, slow down to 60 km/h or move over to make an open lane beside them. We want to protect our police, paramedics, maintenance workers and tow truck drivers so they can get home safely at the end of the day.”

The implementation of these rules is a collective effort to ensure the safety of those who work on Alberta’s roads. Ronald Glen, CEO of the Alberta Roadbuilders and Heavy Construction Association, expressed gratitude towards the legislative support, saying, “Worker safety is the top priority of our highway maintenance contractor member companies. ARHCA thanks all members of the legislature who supported Bill 5 for their concern for our employees’ lives.”

Leticia Aplin, executive director of the Alberta Association of Chiefs of Police, welcomed the initiative as a significant step towards road safety, adding, “The Alberta Association of Chiefs of Police (AACP) is committed to road safety for all Albertans. This initiative of Transportation and Economic Corridors is another step towards enhancing these goals.”

The importance of these measures is underlined by statistics that highlight the risks faced by roadside workers. According to the Alberta Workers’ Compensation Board, there were 2,229 injuries involving workers being struck by a vehicle between 2014 and 2018. Additionally, there have been approximately 130 collisions involving snowplows contracted by Transportation and Economic Corridors between March 2018 and March 2021.

Failing to adhere to the new rules could result in fines and demerit points. Penalties include a $243 fine and three demerit points for failing to slow down when passing roadside workers, a $243 fine and three demerit points for failing to allow other drivers to move into a farther lane, and a $324 fine and three demerit points for unsafe passing of snowplows.

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