Nfld. & Labrador

Beefed-up move-over law among N.L. driving rules now in effect

Changes to driving rules have come into effect across Newfoundland and Labrador as of Thursday morning.

Changes in place as of June 7, 2018

Drivers must now move over and slow down by 30 km/h for emergency vehicles stopped on the side of the road.

Strengthened move-over laws, and other changes to driving rules, have come into effect across Newfoundland and Labrador as of Thursday morning.

The provincial government announced the changes to the Highway Traffic Act back in December.

The changes are focused on reducing excessive speeding, stunting and street racing by adding licence suspensions and vehicle impoundments as new penalties for those offences.

Move-over laws now require drivers to reduce their speed by 30 km/h below the speed limit and move over a lane when approaching law enforcement and emergency vehicles stopped on the side of the road. The move-over law, first introduced in 2014, previously only required drivers to slow to a reasonable speed.

Other changes include a new offence for driving without due care and attention, or without reasonable consideration for other persons causing bodily harm or death.

Those offences now carry a minimum fine of $2,000 and a max of $20,000, or up to two years in jail — or both. Licence suspensions up to five years and six demerit points were also brought in.

Randy Ralph, left, and Shannon Pittman were educators at the Newfoundland and Labrador Youth Centre in Whitbourne. Both were killed in a collision on the Trans-Canada Highway in 2016. (Ian Janes/Family of Shannon Pittman)

"The new offence introduced to the Highway Traffic Act is a monumental and necessary change, crucial in today's society, as we are driving with more technological distractions than ever," said Sarah Pittman in a press release.

Her husband, Shannon Pittman, was killed in a collision on the Trans-Canada Highway near Butter Pot Park in 2016. Kyle Follett was found guilty of driving without due care and attention and fined $180 for that crash.

"In this careless instant, my soulmate was killed, robbing us of the plans and hopes for our future, the suffering our family is left to endure for eternity," Pittman said in the release.

"Hopefully, this new offence will benefit another innocent family, that Shannon's untimely death will not be in vain, and his legacy will live on."

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