The RCMP are reminding motorists to slow down and move over.
In 2009, B.C.’s Motor Vehicle Act regulations were amended to include sections which deal with a driver’s responsibility when encountering official vehicles stopped on a highway with their emergency lights activated.
“The purpose of this legislation was to heighten the safety of official vehicle personnel who work on our highways,” said Cpl. Dan Moskaluk, spokesperson for the RCMP’s South East District.
“RCMP traffic services units have observed very little improvements in regards to motorists complying with the law over the past four years and are hopeful that with continued public education campaigns along with enforcement efforts, B.C. motorists will change their driving habits.”
A driver travelling in a lane adjacent to the stopped emergency vehicle or in the same lane in which the emergency vehicle is stopped must, if it is safe to do so, and unless otherwise directed by a peace officer, move his or her motor vehicle into another lane of the highway if any exist.
Under the legislation, motorists are required to drive their motor vehicle at 70 kilometres per hour if the posted speed limit on the highway is 80 kilometres per hour or more, or 40 kilometres per hour if the posted speed limit on the highway is less than 80.
Failing to slow down to the required speed when encountering an official vehicle, can result in a charge of excessive speed with vehicle impoundment.
“It may be that a large number of motorists are not aware of the law or simply choose to ignore the law. These drivers are certainly not being mindful of the disastrous consequences of their driving habit when they fail to simply slow down and move over,” said Cpl. Bernie Parent.