Beginning on March 1, there will be some new rules on the road for Alberta motorists to remember. The changes are a part of the Traffic Safety Amendment Act, which was passed last year and aimed to strengthen safety measures to better protect all first responders and roadside workers on Alberta’s highways.
Changes include 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.
"This change gives snowplow operators and roadside maintenance teams the same legislated protection as first responders, tow truck operators and construction crews. Having consistent traffic rules for all roadside workers also reduces confusion for motorists and increases highway safety," the province previously stated.
Provincial data shows that there were 128 collisions with highway snowplows between March 2018 and March 2021, while the Alberta Motor Association also reported 25 near misses and 3 serious collisions with their service vehicles between January 2018 and July 2019.
Currently, motorists are required 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.
Current fines for passing an emergency vehicle on the side of the road can range from $136 to $826, depending on the speed.
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