HALIFAX, N.S. — Improving highway safety and promoting public transit are two key amendments to the Motor Vehicle Act introduced Sept. 23, by Transportation and Public Works Minister Ron Russell.
With the changes, more commuters will be encouraged to use public transit.
“We are changing the Motor Vehicle Act to support Halifax Regional Municipality’s bus rapid transit project,” said Russell.
Cole Harbour and Sackville have been identified as two priority transit corridors to and from downtown Halifax. New signal displays will be installed and special lanes designated to give buses top priority along specific routes and intersections.
Russell said that giving buses priority lanes and intersections will make public transit faster and more efficient, as well as help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The province is also proposing news rules of the road which will see traditional rotaries become modern roundabouts. The amendment makes it clear how roundabouts will operate in the future.
“Roundabouts are safe, economical and save drivers’ time,” Russell said. “As we tackle new highway projects, roundabouts will be considered where and when it makes sense.”
The Motor Vehicle Act currently states that drivers entering a rotary must merge one-on-one with traffic. In the future, drivers will have to yield and wait for a gap in traffic before entering a roundabout.
Several administrative amendments to the Motor Vehicle Act will help make Nova Scotia roads safer by targeting unsafe drivers. These include ensuring that pending suspensions of drivers in other provinces are recognized in Nova Scotia, and allowing the Registrar of Motor Vehicles to suspend the driver’s licence of an individual who has received a conditional or absolute discharge for specific criminal offences. These offences include dangerous operation of a motor vehicle, flight from a peace officer, failing to stop at the scene of an accident, and criminal negligence causing death or bodily harm.
Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations is responsible for administering and enforcing the Motor Vehicle Act as it relates to drivers and vehicles. Transportation and Public Works is responsible for establishing highway safety rules under the Motor Vehicle Act.
Russell also introduced an amendment to the Highway 104 Western Alignment Act to enhance accountability. The Highway 104 Western Alignment Corporation’s current practice of producing an annual report and sending it to the minister of transportation and public works will now become mandatory.
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