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Speed reduction to protect safety of roadside workers delayed until September

Province says more time needed to educate drivers
Department of Alberta Transportation and Economic Corridors says implementation of the planned roadside worker safety will take place Sept. 1. (File photo)

The province will delay enforcing stricter speed restrictions aimed at protecting roadside workers in Alberta until Sept. 1.

Recently, Alberta organizations alerted members that starting March 1, all motorists traveling in the same direction on multi-lane roads will have to slow down to 60 km/h, or the posted speed limit (whichever is lower), when passing any emergency vehicle, tow truck, road crew and snowplow operators with flashing lights.

Currently, the law only requires drivers in the lane adjacent to the roadside to slow to 60 km/h.

But a statement from the Department of Alberta Transportation and Economic Corridors on Tuesday said implementation will happen Sept. 1 following a thorough public education campaign to educate Albertans on the changes.

“The changes are extensive and we require more time to communicate those changes, and to make sure the public understands what they are, and the associated penalties,” the statement said.

“We are partnering with industry to prepare a two to three month education campaign so motorists are not surprised on the launch date, and won’t receive unexpected tickets for incorrectly passing roadside workers.”

Amendments to the Traffic Safety Act to improve roadside worker safety were passed in the legislature last spring and at that time the province anticipated a spring 2023 enforcement date.

In the meantime, the department is extending the Registrar’s Exemption to permit the use of flashing blue lights to increase the visibility of tow trucks, support vehicles, government-contacted snowplows, and highway maintenance vehicles for five years (to February 2028). The initial one-year blue light pilot project demonstrated the effectiveness of increasing visibility and safety for Alberta’s roadside workers.

More information on the public awareness campaign will be provided in the coming weeks.

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