Manitoba introduces new offences for driving on closed roads
Health & Safety Driving Safety manitoba RCMP
The Manitoba government’s recent amendments to the Highway Traffic Act, known as Bill 46, will take effect July 1, introducing new penalties for driving on closed roads. Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Doyle Piwniuk made the announcement, highlighting the need to address the dangerous behavior of drivers who ignore road closure signs and barricades.
According to Piwniuk, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) had reported numerous incidents of drivers disregarding road closures due to severe weather conditions and other hazardous situations. Such actions not only endanger the motorists themselves but also pose threats to law enforcement, emergency responders, snow-clearing equipment operators, and road maintenance staff.
To combat this issue, the Manitoba government has amended the Highway Traffic Act, making it an offence to drive on closed roads. In addition, the amendments to the Provincial Offences Act have established preset fines for these new offences. The following fines will be applied:
- $298 for driving a light vehicle (such as a car, SUV, or pick-up truck) on a closed road.
- $672 for directing someone, such as an employee, to drive a light vehicle on a closed road.
- $672 for driving a heavy vehicle on a closed road.
- $1,296 for directing someone, such as an employee, to drive a heavy vehicle on a closed road.
Individuals found guilty of driving on closed roads will also receive a penalty of two demerit points. Moreover, law enforcement will have the authority to take serious cases to court, where fines of up to $2,000 for offences involving light vehicles and up to $5,000 for offences involving heavy trucks and buses may be imposed.
Behaviour was always illegal: RCMP
Insp. Michael Gagliardi, officer in charge of traffic services at the Manitoba RCMP, emphasized the importance of these amendments. He stated, “Far too many times we have seen vehicles ignore the barricades or find ways around them, such as using service roads, and it is very dangerous.” Insp. Gagliardi also mentioned that while going around road-closure barricades has always been illegal, the amendments provide a more effective means of enforcement as it is now a specific charge under the Highway Traffic Act. This, in turn, will contribute to the efforts of keeping Manitoba roads safe for everyone.
The amendments align Manitoba with other provinces such as British Columbia, Ontario, and Saskatchewan, which have already implemented similar legislation to deter drivers from using closed roads.
With the implementation of these amendments, the Manitoba government aims to protect the safety of both drivers and those involved in maintaining the state’s road infrastructure. It serves as a reminder to all motorists to adhere to road closure signs and barricades and to exercise caution during hazardous conditions.