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Safer Shoulders: Alberta amends Traffic Safety Act to better protect roadside workers

Edmonton, Alberta — A new amendment to Alberta’s Traffic Safety Act will require drivers to slow down to at least 60 kilometres an hour when passing stopped roadside worker vehicles with flashing lights.

The updated Bill 5 aims to cover roadside maintenance workers and snowplow operators with protection under the Traffic Safety Act; similar to coverage that is already in place for first responders and tow truck operators.

The amendments will affect drivers traveling in all lanes in the same direction as the stopped roadside worker vehicle and to drivers traveling in the opposite direction on single-lane highways.

“Near misses and collisions are a regular occurrence for Alberta’s tow truck operators, emergency responders and other roadside workers,” said president and CEO of the Alberta Motor Association, Michelle Chimko.

“We applaud these changes as an important first step in improving the safety of these essential workers and look forward to our continued work in further improving their visibility and safety.”

The AMA has been pushing for updated legislation in this area since 2017.

Between March 2018 and March 2021, there were 128 collisions involving snowplows contracted by Alberta Transportation.

Current fines for passing an emergency vehicle on the side of the road can range from $136 to $826, depending on the speed.

The province is planning an educational campaign for drivers prior to the anticipated enforcement date of spring 2023.

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