Ontario Provincial Police are taking extra steps this long weekend to reduce the number of charges laid against drivers who fail to slow down and move over for roadside emergency vehicles.
Last year, the OPP laid one of the highest numbers of charges against drivers during highway emergencies, 2,031, which is the most since 2008 in which there were 2,800 charges.
Over the civic long weekend, officers will be conducting a “Slow Down, Move Over” enforcement and education campaign. Heavy traffic volumes are expected on Ontario highways and roads in the next few days and with that will come an increased presence in rescue vehicles.
In 2015, the “Move Over” law was amended to include slowing down and, on multi-lane highways, moving over for tow trucks parked on the roadside with their amber lights flashing.
The idea is to reduce risk to officers and other responders who have to get out of their vehicles during roadside collisions. Failure to slow down during an event could see a driver face $400 to $2,000 and demerit points.
“Making a traffic or emergency stop on the shoulder of a busy highway or road sets a dangerous stage for police officers and our road safety partners, due to the risk of being struck, injured or killed by approaching vehicles whose drivers are not paying full attention.” said Deputy Commissioner Brad Blair, Provincial Commander of Traffic Safety and Operational Support. “We are counting on all drivers to help ensure the safety of everyone by slowing down and, on multi-lane highways, safely moving over.”
In separate incidents last year, six OPP vehicles, another police vehicle, three ambulances and a tow truck were struck while stopped on a highway. The drivers who struck these vehicles were all charged under the Move Over law.