Starting today (Sept. 1), drivers need to slow down and get in the next lane when passing all roadside workers when their lights are flashing.
The new changes could affect which lane you're travelling in and there are new fines in place along with demerits.
Anytime you're diving in the closest lane to any vehicle that has its flashing lights turned on, you must move over to the far lane and if you can't move over, you must slow down to at least 60 km/h or whatever the posted speed limit is, whichever is lower.
There are new fines along with the new changes.
Tow truck operators have been asking for safety changes for a long time.
Jodie Hennigar with Southern Alberta Towing said the new laws don't quite go far enough:
"We personally feel that the law could definitely be better. Even if the left-hand lane is still maintaining 120 km/h being peppered with rocks or road debris does travel a fair distance."
Hennigar is referring to the new law that says if you're on a multi-lane highway the second left-hand land doesn't have to slow down, only the first lane adjacent to where a tow truck or other roadside workers would be. The same goes for oncoming traffic on a single-lane highway where they don't have to slow down at all.
In the original changes being posed earlier this year, both lanes had to reduce speed to 60 km/h.
Hennigar is also concerned it doesn't go far enough to keep all roadside workers safe. She said they've had an operator hit by a speeding vehicle and have had two vehicles plow into their tow trucks over the last couple of years while they were pulled over and stopped with lights flashing.
"I personally, and I'm sure a lot of other tow companies and tow operators and roadside emergency workers could probably agree that it would be great if all lanes were still to slow down."
In a news release from the Alberta government this is how the Alberta government is rolling out the changes:
Passing roadside vehicles with flashing lights activated
Starting September 1, 2023, drivers who fail to comply with the new safety rules could receive a $243 fine and 3 demerits.
- Drivers passing any stopped roadside vehicle with flashing lights activated could also receive speed fines.
Actions to take on a single-lane highway.
Actions to take on a multi-lane highway.
Starting September 1, 2023, drivers must not pass a snowplow when:
- the view along the side of the snowplow is obstructed
- passing would impede the operation of the snowplow
- the act of passing cannot be done safely
Drivers who fail to comply with any of these actions could receive a $324 fine and 3 demerits.
Speed fines are doubled when construction workers or emergency responders are present.
- Starting September 1, these fines apply when any stopped roadside vehicle with flashing lights activated are present.
- Construction or maintenance zones will have roadway signs in advance to warn motorists that road work is being done. Even if there are no signs reminding motorists that fines will be doubled, your fine could be doubled if workers are present.
- Flashing lights from emergency response vehicles and other roadside workers will warn you of a problem ahead.
- When approaching an emergency or a construction/maintenance situation, use caution and slow down.
- Move over to the far lane whenever possible.
- Always be aware that vehicles ahead of you may stop suddenly.
- Obey directions by flag people or emergency workers.
- Avoid watching the emergency and keep focused on driving.
- Always leave plenty of space between your vehicle and other people and equipment parked or being operated at these locations.
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