Alberta takes extra steps to protect roadside workers

Provincial Press Release November 27, 2020 @ 10:09am published at 11:08am.

This winter, snowplow operators on Alberta’s highways will be allowed to use flashing white strobe lights to increase their visibility. New signage installed along Alberta highways will remind Albertans to drive to conditions and be cautious near roadside workers.

“Snowplow and tow truck drivers are essential workers who face significant risks as they keep our highways clear and safe for travel. New lights and signage will make sure workers are more visible on the highway and encourage motorists to be alert to roadside workers. As drivers and fellow Albertans, we owe it to them to drive responsibly so that each of us can get home safely.” Ric McIver, Minister of Transportation

“Carmacks is fully committed to the safety of the travelling public and our team members. As such, we support all initiatives undertaken by the Government of Alberta that increase public awareness and provide focus and education on the importance of roadside worker safety.” Terry O’Flanagan, safety coordinator, Carmacks Enterprises Ltd.

A social media campaign will educate Albertans about the need to drive safely this winter, including when driving by snowplow operators and tow trucks.

Alberta’s government will also be consulting with Albertans throughout the winter to gauge their awareness of worker safety and identify further steps that should be taken to protect roadside workers, including the expanded use of lights. Any decision would be made based on evidence that usage improves safety.

Quick facts

  • Every winter, there are dozens of collisions and near misses involving snowplows on Alberta highways. In 2019-20, there were 31 collisions with snowplows operated by government highway maintenance contractors.

  • The 511 Alberta app and website now has the capability to alert drivers with an audible ping when they approach a snowplow on Alberta highways.

  • The Traffic Safety Act provides protection for first responders by mandating all motorists in the adjacent lane slow down to 60 km/h (or the posted speed limit, whichever is slower) when passing an emergency vehicle with its lights flashing.

  • Speeding fines also double in construction zones where workers are present.

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