Slow down, move over: Alberta’s new rules to protect workers on roadways kick in Sept. 1
Health & Safety alberta Road Safety
Alberta is reminding the pubic about new rules, designed to protect roadside workers, the come into effect on Sept. 1.
Alberta had been one of only two provinces without move over legislation, but the provincial government has changed that — as covered by OHS Canada in March.
As of next month, drivers in the lane closest to any roadside worker vehicle stopped at the side of the road with its lights flashing must slow down to 60 km/h or the posted speed limit, whichever is lower. Drivers must also move over to the far lane if it’s safe to do so and take reasonable steps to allow other drivers to move over as well.
Currently, only tow truck drivers and first responders are protected under the Traffic Safety Act, but now all roadside workers stopped on the side of the road, with their flashing lights activated, will be covered by these protections.
“This is a common-sense rule change. If you see any flashing lights and people working on the side of the road, slow down to 60 km/h or move over to make an open lane beside them,” said Devin Dreesehn. “We want to protect our police, paramedics, maintenance workers and tow truck drivers so they can get home safely at the end of the day. These people proudly serve Alberta, and we want to make sure we look out for them.”
The new roadside worker safety rules will apply to all roadside workers, including first responders, tow truck operators, highway maintenance workers and snowplow operators.
“Worker safety is the top priority of our highway maintenance contractor member companies,” said Ronald Glen, CEO, Alberta Roadbuilders and Heavy Construction Association. “While we provide training to employees so they can work safely around traffic, we rely on drivers to do their part to slow and make space for workers and machinery. ARHCA thanks all members of the legislature who supported Bill 5 for their concern for our employees’ lives.”
According to Alberta’s Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB), there were 2,229 injuries involving workers being struck by a vehicle between 2014 and 2018.
Between March 2018 and March 2021, there were approximately 130 collisions involving snowplows contracted by Transportation and Economic Corridors.
During the winter of 2022-23, there were 37 collisions involving a government-contracted snowplow.
Failure to comply with these rules can result in a fine and demerit points:
- Variable fines and demerit points for failing to slow down to 60 km/h or the maximum speed limit, whichever is lower, when passing stopped roadside workers (the fine and demerits increase on an escalating scale, based on how much a driver exceeds the speed limit)
- $243 fine and three demerit points for failing to allow other drivers to move into a traffic lane farther from a stopped emergency vehicle, tow truck or roadside work vehicle.
- A fine of $324 and three demerit points for unsafe passing of snowplows.