Skip to content

Laws around passing emergency vehicles to change March 1

Proposed changes in the Traffic Safety Amendment Act limit all traffic passing emergency vehicles to 60 km/h or lower
Emergency crews work on Highway 2 following a seven-car pileup on November 2, 2022. New laws coming into effect expanding rules around passing emergency vehicles and roadside crews.

Starting this Wednesday, drivers will need to be more vigilant passing first responders and roadside workers.

The new Traffic Safety Amendment Act was introduced in the Alberta legislature last year and comes into effect March 1 to overhaul various traffic laws, including those around passing emergency vehicles.

It was described in a March 2022 press conference by then-Minister for Alberta Transportation, Rajan Sawhney as a means of bolstering protections and measures for roadside workers and first responders.

"Once in place, whenever drivers approach flashing lights on Alberta roads, they will need to drive 60 kilometres an hour or slower," Sawhney said in the press conference. “It’s all about introducing more safety for everyone on the road.

"This is entirely about roadside safety."

Effective March 1, all vehicles travelling in the same direction or side of the roadway as a stopped emergency vehicle or roadside worker where the vehicle lights are flashing must travel 60 km/h, or the speed limit, whichever is lower.

This will also apply to all vehicles travelling in both directions where a road or highway only has one lane in each direction.

Before the changes, only vehicles in the adjacent lane had to slow down, and then only for emergency vehicles or tow trucks with flashing lights.

This brings Alberta's traffic laws in line with other provinces, Sawhney pointed out.

Also included under the umbrella of the new legislation is snow plows and maintenance workers and vehicles.

"Every year, there are dozens of collisions and near misses with snow plows on our roads and highways," Sawhney said. "Highway maintenance workers also face considerable risk when they work to keep our roads safe and clear."

The Province will be undertaking educational campaigns ahead of spring.

"As spring approaches, there will be more workers on our roads repairing and maintaining them, others will be helping stranded motorists and assisting those in emergencies," Sawhney said.

"So please, please slow down and give our first responders and maintenance workers the room they need to work safely."

More information about the legislation can be found at

Brent Calver

About the Author: Brent Calver

Award-winning photojournalist for the Western Wheel newspaper covering Okotoks and the Foothills region.
Read more