An amendment is coming to the Traffic Safety Amendment Act.
The proposed change will require all drivers, regardless of lane, travelling in the same direction to slow down to at least 60 km/h when passing a stopped roadside worker vehicle with its lights flashing.
The act would also require motorists travelling in the opposite direction on single-lane highways to slow down to 60 km/h.
“This bill will provide improved safety on our roads and highways for roadside workers and enhance existing safety rules for first responders,” said Rajan Sawhney, Alberta's Minister of Transportation.
Currently, motorists are required to slow down to 60 km/h, or the speed limit, whichever is lower, in only the closest lane when passing an emergency vehicle or tow truck with its flashing lights activated.
Proposed changes under Bill 5 will give similar protection to roadside maintenance workers and snowplow operators that first responders and tow truck operators currently have under the act.
Fines for passing an emergency vehicle on the side of the road can range from $136 to $826, depending on the speed.
The Alberta Motor Association reported that since December 2019, there have been 36 near misses and at least 13 serious roadside incidents involving Alberta tow trucks and passing vehicles - collisions resulting in injury, hospitalization and even death.
Alberta’s Government will conduct an educational campaign for all drivers prior to the anticipated enforcement date of spring 2023.