January 5, 2021 | by: TonyEnman

New Year, new driving rule changes to Motor Vehicles Act & for off-road vehicles

2021 has ushered in new changes & additions to the Motor Vehicles Act, as well for off-road vehicles.

Motor Vehicles Act Changes/Government of New Brunswick:

“New legislation intended to improve road safety will come into force in the province on Jan. 1, 2021.

The amendments to the Motor Vehicles Act include:

  • increasing fines for distracted driving;
  • extending Move Over, Slow Down provisions to tow trucks, highway maintenance vehicles and private and public utility vehicles that have their flashing lights engaged;
  • setting the maximum speed for Move Over, Slow Down to half the posted speed limit;
  • doubling the fine to $280, and increasing the demerit points, to five, for drivers convicted of distracted driving;
  • doubling the fines to $480 and the demerit points to six for drivers who pass a school bus while its flashing red lights are engaged;
  • allowing prosecution of the registered owner or lessee of a vehicle for passing a stopped school bus unless that person can establish that someone else was operating the motor vehicle; and
  • clarifying how suspensions related to drug-recognition evaluations will be imposed and allowing police officers to impose zero-tolerance provisions on novice drivers following a standard field sobriety test.

‘Any case of death or injury due to distracted driving is one too many,’ said Justice and Public Safety Minister Hugh J. Flemming. ‘Everyone needs to do their part to improve safety on our roads.’

The legislation, introduced in 2019, received royal assent in March 2020.”


New off-road vehicle rules/Government of New Brunswick:

“Amendments to the Off-Road Vehicle Act aimed at enhancing enforcement measures, increasing compliance with the act and improving safety, come into force Jan. 1, 2021.

‘The province’s trail systems are a source of pride to many and we owe it to New Brunswickers and visitors to make the trails as safe as possible,’ said Justice and Public Safety Minister Hugh J. Flemming. ‘Safety must always be at the forefront when operating an off-road vehicle. We were pleased to work with the New Brunswick Federation of Snowmobile Clubs and Quad NB to work on these important initiatives.’

The changes include:

  • requiring users of off-road vehicles equipped with seatbelts to wear them;
  • allowing an off-road vehicle to operate within 7.5 metres of the travelled portion of a highway on private property to clear snow or do yard maintenance;
  • making it an offence to operate a vehicle other than an ATV on a managed ATV trail;
  • doubling the fine to $280 for using a managed snowmobile trail or managed ATV trail without a permit; and
  • giving peace officers the authority to ticket a driver operating an unregistered off-road vehicle and to seize and impound an off-road vehicle for failure to stop.

‘The snowmobile clubs and volunteers of the New Brunswick Federation of Snowmobile Clubs are pleased to support the provincial government and minister Flemming in the legislative improvements being enacted,’ said David Garland, president of the federation. “With an annual economic impact of $90.5 million from volunteers, resident and visitor snowmobilers, a modern act that supports sustainability and the safety of all trail activities is an important partnership between us and Justice and Public Safety.”

‘Our volunteer members have been working very hard to build ATV trails, bridges and shelters that are safe for ATV enthusiasts only to find out that these infrastructures were damaged by people with trucks, cars and other off-road vehicles,’ said Roger Daigle, president of Quad NB. ‘In the past, nothing could be done about it legislatively, but these amendments, which we have been waiting a long time for, will now help enforcement officers put an end to the damage to our managed trails system and infrastructure and fine the people who are unlawfully using our trails.'”