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 (AMA), 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.
“Advocates for Ontario’s towing industry are voicing their support for the provincial government’s plans to introduce a tow operator licensing framework, in the hopes of securing a more fair and ethical way forward for those employed in the industry.
The Provincial Towing Association of Ontario (PTAO) says that it fully endorses the government’s March 2021 pledge to crack down on the violence and corruption that is prevalent in the Greater Toronto Area’s towing industry.
At the time, it was announced that the region would be split into various zones where only specific towing companies would be permitted to operate. Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney said that this first step will “eliminate the practice of accident chasing within the tow zones, which has been a dangerous trend in the industry.”
The next steps include establishing a method of licensing and accounting for tow operators and their individual degrees of education and safety training. The PTAO says that this puts it in step with the government on this goal.” ““The provincial government’s decision to introduce provincial licensing is very timely, as the PTAO has been designing and developing their own accreditation program for towers to recognize the education and standards needed in the towing industry,” said PTAO president Mark Graves, in a press release.
Graves says that his organization has been working alongside the Ontario government for the past five years and that “It is very rewarding to see the Provincial Government moving forward on many of the recommendations made by the PTAO.” As it stands, the Ontario government has not laid out any additional details on the state of tow operator licensing in the province.”