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The New Traffic Safety Act in Nova Scotia helps to ensure pedestrians of 3 forms of added protection. To begin with, that Act expands the definition of distracted driving. It makes it illegal to check a hand held device while at sitting behind the steering wheel in a moving vehicle.

Enforcement of Traffic Safety Act

If a distracted driver causes a serious injury, the same driver must pay a fine of $410. That is a marked increase over the old fine of $295. In addition to the fine, the distracted driver responsible for a serious injury will have his or her license suspended for 6 months.

Added protections for pedestrians

The fines charged drivers that have injured a vulnerable road user have been increased. In addition to the fine, the charged driver faces suspension of his or her license. The term “vulnerable road users” refers to pedestrians, those riding bicycles and members of the crew that are working on a road or highway. Nova Scotia has installed in its cities a new kind of traffic light. It has a green walk light.

The green walk light comes on before the stopped vehicles have been allowed into the intersection. The new lights provide pedestrians with a way to clearly establish their presence in a crosswalk before vehicles have a chance to move into the intersection that contains the same crosswalk.

This entire system makes it easier for a pedestrian to claim the right of way. Still, it does not allow a pedestrian to move onto a road at any point, in order to claim the right to cross that same street/road.

Possible feedback from drivers

Drivers may ask for laws on when pedestrians can use their hand-held devices. Some drivers in other provinces have complained about walkers that have their eyes on their cell phone while crossing the street. Authorities in Nova Scotia should be prepared to receive similar complaints. On the other hand, some feedback has already questioned the extent to which the new Safety Act will do an effective job of limiting the number of distracted drivers. Most of the personal injury lawyers in Fredericton understand that such cases can lead to filing of claims.

It looks like comments in the feedback could be used to create a type of poll. Polling could be used to ascertain the extent to which the new Act ought to be made stricter. On the other hand, the results might highlight the need for an entirely different Act, one pertaining to pedestrians with hand held devices.

Do the actions of some walkers endanger other vulnerable road users? That question might be answered by examining feedback. Do bicycle riders and work crews ever feel threatened by a walker with eyes on a hand held device?