TRANSPORTATION/PUBLIC WORKS–Amendments to Improve Traffic Safetyand Efficiency Improving highway safety and promoting public transit are two keyamendments to the Motor Vehicle Act introduced today, Sept. 23,by Transportation and Public Works Minister Ron Russell. With the changes, more commuters will be encouraged to use publictransit. “We are changing the Motor Vehicle Act to support HalifaxRegional Municipality’s bus rapid transit project,” said Mr.Russell. Cole Harbour and Sackville have been identified as two prioritytransit corridors to and from downtown Halifax. New signaldisplays will be installed and special lanes designated to givebuses top priority along specific routes and intersections. Mr. Russell said that giving buses priority lanes andintersections 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 willsee traditional rotaries become modern roundabouts. The amendmentmakes it clear how roundabouts will operate in the future. “Roundabouts are safe, economical and save drivers’ time,” Mr.Russell said. “As we tackle new highway projects, roundaboutswill be considered where and when it makes sense.” The Motor Vehicle Act currently states that drivers entering arotary must merge one-on-one with traffic. In the future, driverswill have to yield and wait for a gap in traffic before enteringa roundabout. Several administrative amendments to the Motor Vehicle Act willhelp make Nova Scotia roads safer by targeting unsafe drivers.These include ensuring that pending suspensions of drivers inother provinces are recognized in Nova Scotia, and allowing theRegistrar of Motor Vehicles to suspend the driver’s licence of anindividual who has received a conditional or absolute dischargefor specific criminal offences. These offences include dangerousoperation of a motor vehicle, flight from a peace officer,failing to stop at the scene of an accident, and criminalnegligence causing death or bodily harm. Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations is responsible foradministering and enforcing the Motor Vehicle Act as it relatesto drivers and vehicles. Transportation and Public Works isresponsible for establishing highway safety rules under the MotorVehicle Act. Mr. Russell also introduced an amendment to the Highway 104Western Alignment Act to enhance accountability. The Highway 104Western Alignment Corporation’s current practice of producing anannual report and sending it to the minister of transportationand public works will now become mandatory.