Another busy holiday weekend is upon us, and that means that OPP officers, other police service personnel, ambulance workers and firefighters will be out in full force keeping Ontario’s roads safe and rescuing the unfortunate. But their own lives will be endangered by drivers who do not obey “Move Over” legislation.
In Ontario, Section 159 (2)(3) of the Highway Traffic Act requires drivers to slow down and proceed with caution when passing an emergency vehicle parked on the side of the highway with its lights activated. If the highway has more than one lane, the law requires the driver to move over and leave one lane between their vehicle and the parked emergency vehicle if it can be done safely. Failure to do so can result in fines from $400 to $2,000 and three demerit points for a first offence.
“Officers report that often it is older drivers who are ignorant of this law since it was enacted in 2003 after many current motorists already had their licence. Ignorance of the law is not an excuse to endanger the life of a police officer or an emergency worker,” says OPP Commissioner Chris Lewis.
From August 1 to 7, OPP officers will conduct a focussed enforcement campaign aimed squarely at drivers who continue to violate this law.
“This is an important education and targeted enforcement campaign. Since 1989, five OPP officers have been killed doing their job on the sides of Ontario roadways and many more have been injured. Our colleagues at other police services, ambulance and fire services have also lost friends and co-workers to these preventable roadside collisions,” says Larry Beechey, OPP Deputy Commissioner for Traffic Safety and Operational Support.