Emergency Vehicles? Better move over!
Ontario has legislation in place to help protect emergency workers that are involved investigating traffic collisions and emergency situations on our highways. Simply put, it is the “move over” law. Emergency vehicles that are engaged in activities on the shoulder of the road must have their overhead or rear emergency lights activated in order to be considered an emergency vehicle engaged in an emergency. A police car, ambulance or firetruck sitting on the shoulder of the highway with no emergency lights on is still considered to be an emergency vehicle, but not considered to be engaged in an emergency where the “move over” legislation under section 159 of the Highway Traffic Act can apply. Upon the approach of an emergency vehicle with its emergency lights activated, every driver must slow down and move over to another lane to give a safe space between them and the emergency personnel. If a driver can not do this safely, then they are to slow down and proceed with caution. Failing to do this can result in a ticket of $490 and 3 demerit points. In a more serious situation, the officer can elect to summons you to court with no option to pay an out of court fine.
What should you do?
If you encounter emergency vehicles on the side of the highway:
Change lanes if possible. If you are on a single lane/each direction highway, move into the on-coming lane if there is no on-coming traffic, slow down and pass by with caution. If on a multi-lane highway, move completely over into the adjacent lane and pass by with caution. You should give clearance of one clear lane for the emergency personnel. If you find that you can’t move into another lane, you MUST slow down and proceed with caution and give as much space to them as possible. In either circumstance, you are required to always slow down upon approaching. Two years ago the legislation was amended to include tow trucks and other service vehicles.
When you think about the requirements, isn’t it common sense to move over and proceed with caution anyways!
If you find yourself charged with this offence, or any other traffic tickets, do not hesitate to contact SW Legal Services at 905-235-4567 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org and speak with a knowledgeable paralegal that can assist you with protecting your driving record and prevent sky-high insurance rates.