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Slow Down, Move Over legislation continues to gain traction across North America. In Canada, nearly every province has adopted some law requiring motorists to give emergency vehicles on the roadside extra space to do their jobs.
Though specifics vary, Move Over laws state that motor vehicles must slow down and, where possible, move over to the adjacent lane when an emergency vehicle is at the roadside with their lights flashing. Penalties for failing to adhere to the law generally result in fines and changes in demerit points.
What falls under the emergency vehicles umbrella is a tender spot for many road workers and road safety advocacy organizations alike. Annually, roughly 120 North American tow truck operators are killed while at work on the roadside.
This highlights the need for modifications in legislation to expand the roadside emergency vehicles definition. Provinces like Alberta, Ontario, and Newfoundland include tow truck operators in their legislation, alongside British Columbia, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan.
Polling shows that 87 percent of Atlantic Canadians are on board with the inclusion of tow trucks in provincial Slow Down, Move Over legislation. (CAA) This significant statistic underscores public understanding of the dangers faced by emergency service vehicle operators. It can be speculated that this considerable support is directly correlated to strong public awareness of the risks associated with the career and a shared belief that everyone deserves a safe working environment.
Despite that strong show of support, it would seem there is still some work to be done on putting theory into practice. In March, a New Brunswick motorist struck a CAA Tow Truck Operator while he was tending to a driver in distress on the roadside. The impact sent him flying eight feet through the air.
Though he knows he is lucky to be alive, he is still recovering from injuries he sustained in the incident. This should serve as a deterrent example to all motorists to pay attention and use extra caution when passing a vehicle at work on the roadside.
At the end of the day, everyone deserves a safe place to work, and tow truck operators are no exception. When they are at the roadside, they are helping someone in distress to safety. If you’ve ever been that motorist in distress, you likely know just how valuable those emergency roadside personnel are. Do them a favour and talk to your friends, family, and elected politicians about the importance of slowing down and moving over.
To learn more about Move Over legislation in Atlantic Canada, visit atlantic.caa.ca/SlowDown.
The Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) is a federation of nine clubs providing more than six million Members with roadside assistance, Member Rewards and comprehensive automotive and travel services. CAA also advocates on issues of concern to its Members, including: road safety, the environment, mobility, infrastructure and consumer protection.