November 21, 2018
Proposed Changes to Highway Traffic Act Will Further Improve Public Safety
Amendments to the Highway Traffic Act to increase safety on our province’s roads and highways were introduced for second reading today in the House of Assembly.
The proposed changes, developed in consultation with stakeholder groups, include the introduction of a one-metre rule aimed at the protection of cyclists and pedestrians. The rule means a driver of a motor vehicle will be required to leave one metre of open space between the vehicle and bicycle or pedestrian on highways with posted speed limits of 60 kilometres per hour or less. The required distance would be one and a half metres for highways with posted speed limits greater than 60 kilometres per hour.
A new definition of pedestrian has also been proposed, respectfully addressing persons with disabilities.
The penalty for violations of the one-metre rule will range between $100-$400, or two-14 days imprisonment, as well as two demerit points which will be incorporated in the Regulations.
In an effort to increase safety for both the taxi industry and their passengers, a zero tolerance policy for drugs or drugs and alcohol when operating a taxi has also been introduced. This change mirrors the recent zero tolerance provision introduced in Bill 23 for drivers under 22, novice drivers and drivers of commercial vehicles, and may result in a seven-day vehicle impoundment.
If passed, the amendments will also allow for the adoption of accessible parking signage standards in the regulations, and implement updates to reflect changes in the sections of the Criminal Code of Canada.
These amendments follow recent improvements to the Highway Traffic Act which came into force upon the legalization of cannabis on October 17 related to drug-impaired driving, as well other amendments that came into effect on June 7 related to distracted driving, excessive speeding, stunting, street racing and other offences.Quotes
“We are continually updating the Highway Traffic Act to ensure safety on our province’s roadways. These changes will help improve road safety for everyone, not only motorists, but pedestrians and cyclists as well. Road safety affects us all.”
Honourable Sherry Gambin-Walsh
Minister of Service NL
“Bicycle Newfoundland and Labrador is very pleased with the introduction of the one-metre rule. Adopting this law will bring us one step closer to safer commuting on our roadways, and we look forward to assisting with further initiatives in support of this change.”
President, Bicycle Newfoundland and Labrador
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Bill 39 – An Act to Amend the Highway Traffic Act, no. 2
2018 11 21 11:30 a.m.