New law would bring more sirens to Nova Scotia

Send to a friend

Send this article to a friend.

Sheriff's van

Changes introduced  April 11 to the Motor Vehicle Act  will allow sheriff, bridge patrol and mobile communication vehicles  to use sirens, flashing and revolving lights when responding to emergency situations.

"The proposed amendments will help to enhance public safety," said Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal Geoff MacLellan in a media release. "I urge the public's continued co-operation in promptly and safely clearing the way when they see or hear an emergency response vehicle. It's the law."

The amendments mean public safety and field communication vehicles, sheriff vehicles and bridge patrol vehicles will have the same privileges as other emergency vehicles including: the authority to proceed through traffic signals, stop signs, and exceed speed limits when operating in an emergency situation; allowing the vehicles to make a U-turn across the highway and requiring other drivers to yield right-of-way.

Drivers will have to follow the same rules of the road when approaching and yielding to these public safety vehicles as they would when approaching and yielding to emergency vehicles like police, fire and paramedics.

Geographic location: Nova Scotia

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Thanks for voting!

Top of page



Recent comments

  • Michael R Murphy
    April 15, 2014 - 12:50

    I live at North and Robie in North End Halifax and any time of the day or night the EHS ambulances go by here with full on lights and siren headed down to the QE Hospital! ENOUGH!! Its bloody annoying!

    • Ryan
      April 15, 2014 - 16:10

      How dare they transport patients in need of immediate medical care to the hospital with lights and sirens on. Nobody should be able to bother YOU with that kind of non sense.

    • Chris
      April 15, 2014 - 23:56

      Your opinion would be the same if a family member was in the back of one of those ambulances?

  • Shaun
    April 14, 2014 - 21:19

    Ridiculous. Why would a sheriff who transports prisoners and delivers summons, need to respond with red and blue lights and sirens. The real change should have been to allow Volunteer FFs to have Green Curtsey lights which would show other drivers that they are trying to get to an emergency which could potentially be at their house. Shame NS Govt.

    • Chris
      April 16, 2014 - 00:06

      Sheriffs in many jurisdictions do use red and blue lights. That is mainly because their powers are broader than you described. As far as green "Curtsey" lights, ridiculous. Red only, because it is essential they get to their destination in a timely manner while following the law. Courtesy is: the motoring driver permitting them to have the right of way in the course of their duties.

  • Art
    April 14, 2014 - 20:59

    Ok let me try to answer these comments. Morgan. Not sure but I think an emergency vehicle can travel 10km overt he speed limit, stop then proceed through red lights and stop signs with the use of red lights and sirens. As for the Green Lights that are used in other Provinces they would slow those drivers down that you have mentioned as they would be identified as responding to an emergency. As to date when you see a vehicle go fast down a road way with fir plates doesn't mean they are responding to an emergency and how would anyone know if it is a firefighter driving the vehicle as it could be their wife, husband, son, or daughter driving at the time you seen them. In Quebec a 1 year pilot project was put in place that lasted 13 years with the Green Lights, it would be a courtesy light requesting the right of way, if I was behind you and you had family members that live in the direction I was traveling would you pull over or hold be up from helping...just asking. Joe I think if you pay taxes you should check what you and I would have to pay to have all career firefighters and no volunteer firefighters. Volunteer firefighters out number career in Canada and the USA. You might be shocked if you researched it and what it would cost to have all career. We are trained to do what we do and we don't look for any pay just tools to make our response safer for us to arrive at the Dept. As far as Insurance Volunteer firefighters are cover in other Provinces with no problem and that is because they don't have problems with their driving due to the green light identifying to everyone on the road way.... Not try to be smart just stating facts due to the research I have done over the past 6 year on the use of Lights on volunteer firefighters vehicles... Thanks Art

  • Wendell
    April 12, 2014 - 21:50

    And a sherrif needs to go *where* in a hurry?

  • Morgan
    April 12, 2014 - 15:40 emergency light does not give you permission to speed. And as far as the green light thing goes, it's the worst idea ever....too many hot heads driving to calls already.... An insurance company would never cover you with a green light.

    • Ryan
      April 15, 2014 - 16:16

      Why's it the worst idea ever? The program is quite successful in other provinces like Ontario, Manitoba, Sask and Alberta. In Sask volunteers can have lights and sirens in their vehicle and are considered emergency vehicles while responding. With training and proper enforcement it could work just fine in NS.

  • Art
    April 11, 2014 - 18:42

    We have been trying sense 2008 to have a light in a Volunteer Firefighters vehicle when responding to an emergency and ours is only as an identification requesting the right of way and the powers to be keep saying no. Check out our facebook group.

    • Joe
      April 12, 2014 - 06:49

      They don't do that because it's dangerous having volunteers with those sirens and lights. You should try to get funding for a paid service in your area.

    • Chris
      April 12, 2014 - 16:22

      Art, I'm in agreement with you. Even here in Manitoba our volunteer firefighters are equipped with flashing lights for their vehicles, but not the sirens. As for Joe's comment, ridiculous!

    • Ryan
      April 13, 2014 - 21:58

      @ Joe. I'd say there's plenty of dangerous career folks running lights and sirens. As for your other comment. Good luck getting a community with 2000 people and a fire department that runs 80 calls to go full time.

    • Volli
      April 13, 2014 - 22:47

      It is not a siren, it's a green light in the dash that "asks" for the right of way as the individual in the vehicle is responding to an emergency. No sirens involved.

    • Ryan
      April 14, 2014 - 16:50

      @ Joe. You want a town of a 1000 people with a fire department doing less than 80 calls a year trying to get full time staffing? The community would laugh in your face.

    • Chris
      April 16, 2014 - 19:24

      The green light doesn't ask for anything, lol. If responding personnel are going to have lights they should be red. Green is ridiculous. Manitoba even has a firefighter's licence plate that can be issued and there is no problem recognizing that the vehicle is that of a firefighter.