Nova Scotia road safety law passed in 2018 still years from taking effect: minister

·2 min read

HALIFAX — Nova Scotia is making some road safety changes by amending an old act because a wide-ranging bill passed in 2018 that transforms the rules of the road in the province still hasn't been proclaimed.

Public Works Minister Kim Masland says the Traffic Safety Act isn't expected to take effect for another three to four years because the supporting information technology system still isn't ready.

Masland says there are massive amounts of data related to more than 100 years of previous road safety records that still has to be entered into the system before it is up and running.

When it was introduced, former Liberal transportation minister Lloyd Hines said it would take about two years from passage before all new regulations and the new law were in place.

Masland announced today three new changes that are expected to be passed during the current fall legislative session as part of the current Motor Vehicle Act.

They would allow municipalities to install traffic control signals for bicycles and to create bylaws governing muffler noise, while a clarification would allow police to issue 90-day suspensions for failing or refusing avariety of road sobriety tests.

When it was tabled, the Traffic Safety Act was introduced as providing roadway "access for all" and not just motor vehicles.

It defines pedestrians, cyclists and certain others as “vulnerable road users” and doubles fines for accidents that seriously injure or kill them. As well, drivers convicted of injuring someone deemed vulnerable would be also be subject to an automatic suspension of up to six months.

There are also provisions that clamp down on the use of devices that lead to distracted driving, including cellphones and global positioning systems, which will only be allowed to be used hands-free with fines increased from $295 to $410.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 22, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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