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New N.L. roadside safety laws protect emergency personnel, other workers

By COS staff

Motorists in Newfoundland and Labrador will now be required to move over when approaching stopped emergency, enforcement or other designated vehicles.

The new law under the Highway Traffic Act came into effect March 10 and will require motorists to stop or slow to a reasonable speed and give a wide berth to those working by the side of the road.

“By slowing down and moving over we can ensure that workers can perform their duties more safely and reduce the risk of anyone getting injured or worse by a vehicle," said Minister of Service NL Dan Crummell.

This new law is in addition to the existing law that requires drivers to pull over to the side or otherwise yield the right of way when an emergency vehicle is approaching with lights and sirens activated. As a rule, motorists will now create a buffer lane by slowing down and putting as much distance as possible between themselves and a designated stopped vehicle.

Designated vehicles which require a wide berth under the new laws must be operating flashing red, blue or amber lights or have other traffic warning signals.

Designated vehicles can include:

• emergency and enforcement vehicles

• tow trucks or other roadside assistance vehicles

• search and rescue vehicles

• public utility vehicles

• municipal, provincial or federal enforcement or service vehicles.

Failing to exercise these safe driving practices can result in fines of $300 to $900, and four demerit points against the offending driver’s record in the event of a conviction.

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