New law around passing snow plows now in effect in Ontario

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Drivers in Windsor-Essex and across Ontario will have a new law to obey once the first big heavy snowfall of the year arrives.

A recent amendment to the Highway Traffic Act now prohibits the improper passing of snow plows working in echelon formation, when snow plows are working side-by-side on a multi-lane road or highway.

Under the new law, drivers must not overtake snow plows working in echelon formation on multi-lane roads or highways with a posted speed limit of 80 km/h or more.

The only way passing would be permitted is if a full lane is available to complete the manoeuvre safely. In order for a lane to be considered available, no part of a snow plow, including an attachment or blade, should overlap.

Windsor police Inspector Jennifer Crosby says if any portion of the snow plow is impacting or going into that other lane, even a little bit of the plow, then it's not safe.

Crosby says even though this new law is in place, they also recommended everyone be aware and be safe around snow plows.

"If you are going to overtake even a single snow plow, is it safe to do so given the road conditions, given the traffic conditions? While this is a new section in the Highway Traffic Act, there are other sections that apply when you are operating your vehicle in a manner that is careless," she says.

Inspector Crosby says this new law went into effect on Sept. 15, so there is time to learn about it.

We will be rolling out information on our social media, hopefully not too soon, we won't be getting that major snowfall where we need snow plows," she says. "But there has been conversation about educating the public on what they can and can not do."

Anyone who receives a ticket under the new law would face a fine of $325.