Manitoba announces protection for emergency, enforcement personnel

Manitoba has announced new amendments to the Highway Traffic Act meant to expand and clarify precautions drivers must take when passing emergency personnel.

Called the Respect for the Safety of Emergency and Enforcement Personnel Act, or the Protecting First Responders Act, Infrastructure and Transportation Minister Steve Ashton says the changes aim to make Manitoba highways a safer workplace for emergency responders and tow-truck operators.

As of Sept. 12, motorists travelling on the same side of the road as emergency vehicles that are stopped with their lights flashing are required to slow down and procees with caution. Drivers on a multi-lane highway must pass the emergency vehicle only when safe to do so, and move to a lane further from the emergency vehicle if possible. Drivers must not exceep 40 km/hr on highways with speed limits below 80 km/hr and not exceed 60 km/hr on roads with speed limits greater than 80 km/hr.

Drivers not following these safety measures could face a fine of $299.65.

These changes follow rules released in May outlining new speed limits for motorists driving through designated construction zones, with or without workers present.

"We are sending a message to drivers that slowing down when passing roadside workers saves lives and motorists who fail to slow down will be penalized,” says Ashton.