Amendments to the Highway Traffic Act to enable the use of image capture systems to help increase road safety on our province’s roads and highways were introduced for second reading today in the House of Assembly.
The proposed changes will allow for highway cameras to be used as a means of increasing compliance with the rules of the road and increasing safety for all road users in the province. The use of cameras can also help improve safety in construction zones and school bus zones.
Other amendments introduced include consolidating penalties for select offences to the schedule of the Act for consistency purposes, and the reordering of impaired driving sections of the Act for readability and understanding.
The Provincial Government has made a number of recent improvements to the Highway Traffic Act including increased fines and tougher penalties for a number of offenses such as impaired driving; amendments regarding excessive speeding, street racing, stunting and move over provisions; a new offence for driving without due care and attention; and the introduction of a one-metre rule for cyclists and pedestrians. A list of recent legislative changes can be found in the backgrounder below.
These amendments speak to the importance of keeping current with changes in safety codes, vehicle design and other highway safety improvements, as well as responding to driving behaviours.
“Road safety has been a priority for our government and we have made a number of amendments to the Highway Traffic Act to accomplish this objective. The introduction of legislation to allow for camera technology continues our efforts to help further protect the people of Newfoundland and Labrador.”
Honourable Sherry Gambin-Walsh
Minister of Service NL
“Our highway construction cameras pilot project found that close to 50 per cent of vehicles were in violation of the construction zone speed limit. Amending the Highway Traffic Act to allow highway cameras to be used for enforcement will lead to safer working environments for people who work on our highways.”
Honourable Steve Crocker
Minister of Transportation and Works
“The safety of students in school zones is paramount and all of us have a responsibility to remain vigilant and obey school bus safety laws. The amendment to enable the use of camera technology in school zones and on stop arms will help improve safety and is an important measure to help curb dangerous driving habits around school buses.”
Honourable Brian Warr
Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development
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Transportation and Works
Education and Early Childhood Development
Recent initiatives aimed at road safety in Newfoundland and Labrador
- Highway Traffic Act amended to increase fines for using a hand-held cellular phone while driving a motor vehicle.
- Changes to the Official Inspection Station Regulations that provide officials with stronger enforcement and reporting tools to ensure that school buses on the province’s roads are safe.
- Highway Traffic Act amended to strengthen impaired driving laws.
- Highway Traffic Act amended to increase penalties for a number of offences that were less than $100.
- Highway Traffic Act amended to include new offence for driving without due care and attention or without reasonable consideration for other persons causing bodily harm or death
- Increased existing fines for driving without due care and attention or without reasonable consideration for other persons
- Introduced excessive speeding offence (greater than 50 kilometres over limit)
- New offences of street racing and stunting
- New move over law regarding how much a driver must reduce speed when passing a stopped emergency vehicle
- Policy holders now have responsibility to prove that their policy was in effect at time of offence.
- Highway Traffic Act amended to include one-metre rule aimed at the protection of cyclists and pedestrians where the 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.
- New definition of pedestrian that respectfully addresses persons with disabilities.
- Zero tolerance policy for drugs or drugs and alcohol when operating a taxi in an effort to increase safety for both the taxi industry and their passengers, and may result in a seven-day vehicle impoundment.
- Adoption of accessible parking signage standards, and updates to reflect changes in the sections of the Criminal Code of Canada.