Traffic Safety Act: public engagement

Nova Scotia’s outdated Motor Vehicle Act is being replaced with a modern Traffic Safety Act that will help make the province’s roads and highways safer. We’re looking for feedback from Nova Scotians to help develop the regulations that accompany the Traffic Safety Act. Different sections of the regulations will be available for public comment over the next few months.


The consultation period for the Drivers Regulations and Vehicle Regulations is now over.

The new Traffic Safety Act affects all Nova Scotians in some way, including drivers, pedestrians, cyclists, police, municipalities and car dealerships.

Some of the changes will include improvements to help keep pedestrians safe, rules to address new transportation devices like e-scooters, measures to better protect cyclists, and steps to strengthen and modernize the licence classification system.

The act was developed as a framework piece of legislation. That means most of the details will be in the regulations.

Consultation process

Government worked with stakeholders to develop draft regulations. These draft regulations are now available for public input.

The draft regulations will be released for public feedback in parts over the next few months,

  • drivers
  • vehicles
  • rules of the road
  • business and licensing
  • roles and responsibilities
  • administration and penalties

For each of the consultation phases, Nova Scotians will be able to provide feedback on the actual draft regulations, rather than an interpretive document. A brief plain language explanation will accompany each regulation.

Interpreting the regulations

These documents may help you understand the terms used in the Traffic Safety Act regulations.

Interpretation regulations

These regulations interpret terms used in the Traffic Safety Act. For example, the regulations include definitions for bicycles, buses, divided highways, emergency response vehicles, stunting and commercial drivers.

Traffic Safety Act definitions

This document defines additional terms for the Traffic Safety Act, or changes existing definitions in the act. These terms include conveyance, trailer and equipment.

Drivers Regulations

The consultation period for the Drivers Regulations is now over.

There are 3 sets of regulations related to drivers.

Driver’s Licence Regulations

These regulations describe the different classes of driver’s licence available, what type of vehicle you drive with each class, and any other conditions for the particular class.

These regulations also describe the actions the Registrar of Motor Vehicles can take to address poor driver behaviour, like requiring a driver to meet with the Registrar or attend a driver improvement program, or suspending their licence.

Driver Licensing Requirements Regulations

These regulations describe the eligibility and medical requirements for each class of driver’s licence, as well as endorsements and how long the licence is valid.

These regulations also describe the information required to apply for a driver’s licence, the information included in the Driver’s Licence Card, and requirements for approval of driver training programs and education courses.

Alcohol Ignition Interlock Program Regulations

These regulations describe the details of participating in this program, including eligibility, approved devices, monitoring, counselling and duration of the program.

Vehicle Regulations

There are 4 sets of regulations related to vehicles.

Vehicle Documents Regulations

These regulations describe:

  • types of vehicles being regulated
  • requirements for vehicle registration
  • vehicle identification, ownership and ownership transfer
  • documents required to legally operate a vehicle, including registration, insurance and safety stickers
  • vehicle plate requirements, including dealer, transporter and specialty plates

Vehicle Equipment, Safety, and Inspections (VESI) Regulations

These regulations describe the standard equipment required in all vehicles, like vehicle lighting and safety equipment, reflectors, brakes and tires. They also describe equipment requirements for trailers, motorcycles and other modes of transportation.

These regulations address vehicle safety inspections, including what needs to be inspected, requirements and duties of inspectors, types of inspections, and required frequency of inspection.

These regulations also include criteria for modifications and replacement parts in antique vehicles, and criteria to determine if a vehicle isn’t roadworthy.

Vehicle Insurance Regulations

These regulations describe proof of insurance requirements and motor vehicle liability policies.

Vehicle Weights and Dimensions Regulations

There are no proposed changes to Vehicle Weights and Dimensions regulations. The current regulations on vehicle weights and dimensions will remain in effect.