It’s the Law: Move Over for Emergency Vehicles and Tow Trucks

Throughout the summer in Ontario, people hit the roads on Fridays, particularly for long weekend getaways to the cottage or other vacation destinations.  Ontario Provincial Police are out in full force warning drivers to keep their eyes on the road and to stay safe when behind the wheel. One of the things police are going to focus on this August long weekend is the move over law as many people still aren’t getting the message they say.

The move over law is a fifteen year old piece of legislation that requires motorists to move over to an adjacent lane leaving a one lane margin or buffer when noticing flashing lights from an emergency vehicle (fire, police, ambulance) or a tow truck.  The law also requires motorists to move to the farthest right lane or shoulder of the road, if safe and possible, when they see an emergency vehicle (ambulance, police or fire) coming from any direction with they hear sirens or see flashing lights operating, until the vehicle has passed by.

If drivers can’t move over safely, they must slow down while passing the stopped emergency vehicle or tow truck to speeds below the posted speed limit.  When vehicles are trying to move over, other drivers in adjacent lanes are reminded to help these situations by letting drivers in.

When emergency first responders and tow truck drivers are on the roads with amber lights, they are just trying to do their job without getting hurt or killed.  The roads are their workplace and all workers have the right to return home safely from work. First responders and tow truck drivers often work in dangerous conditions where speeding and distracted drivers wiz by just inches away from them.

Police warn that motorists who do not respect the move over law will be hit with a $490 fine and 3 demerit points.  What police want to do is combat poor driving habits that lead to deadly crashes. In the province of Ontario alone, there have been more than 150 road fatalities to date.

The big four bad driving behaviours that police are targeting are speeding, distracted, aggressive and impaired driving. Speeding and distracted driving are the two number one dangers in terms of number of fatalities on the road.

Drivers should think about their actions when on the road because the consequences are real.