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Alberta eyes legislation to improve roadside worker safety


March 28, 2022
By Rock to Road staff

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Alberta’s AB-40 S crossing the Athabasca RiverPhoto: Andrew Snook/Rock to Road

Alberta has introduced new legislation that will toughen rules to protect all roadside workers.

Known as Bill 5, the Traffic Safety Amendment Act will require all motorists traveling 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 proposed changes will also require motorists traveling in the opposite direction on single lane highways to slow down to 60 km/h when passing.

“Roadside workers work in a high-risk environment and deserve the best protection so that they can go home safely to their families at the end of their shift,” said Transportation Minister Rajan Sawhney.

That’s why, following consultations with the public and stakeholders, Alberta’s government is proposing these changes to protect all those working along our highways.”

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Alberta’s Transportation Minister Rajan Sawhney explains:

 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 Traffic Safety Act.

RELATED: Alberta to implement prompt payment rules this summer

“Alberta’s road construction and maintenance industry puts worker safety first. This legislation is greatly appreciated because we need drivers to slow down and do their part to make their highways – our worksites – safe and efficient for all,” said Ron Glen, CEO of Alberta Roadbuilders and Heavy Construction Association.

Albertans are supportive of the new legislation, according to a survey conducted in 2021. About 15,000 Albertans responded to an online survey with 92 per cent supporting the idea of all vehicles providing one lane of space when passing a roadside worker vehicle when its lights are flashing.

“Highway maintenance crews throughout our industry provide critical services to our province’s expansive highway and road network, for the benefit of all Albertans. It is gratifying to see our government taking deliberate and proactive measures to improve safety for all highway maintenance and roadside personnel,” said Kelly McManus, president of transportation and highway operations at LaPrairie Group of Companies.

Alberta’s Government will conduct an educational campaign for all drivers prior to the anticipated enforcement date of spring 2023.