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NEWS RELEASE · 6th July 2010
BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation
A safety reminder to all drivers

When you set out on your road trip this summer, the BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation asks you to remember to slow down and move over when you encounter an emergency vehicle stopped at the side of the road.

The BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation has produced an information card that tells drivers what they are supposed to do if they encounter an emergency vehicle in this situation.

“Drivers already know to pull over to the side of the road and stop when they hear a siren approaching,” says Allan Lamb, executive director of the foundation. “But laws now require drivers to slow down and move over when they approach a stopped emergency vehicle with its lights flashing.”

Emergency workers often risk their lives to protect and save the lives of others. Between 2001 and 2007, 21 emergency workers were killed or injured on B.C. roads.

When an emergency vehicle is operating on the side of the road, that area becomes a workspace. Slowing down and moving over improves worker safety by leaving more space between your vehicle and the emergency vehicle, and enables faster response times for emergency vehicle drivers to attend to the situation.

Ken Cousin is the Associate Vice President, Road Assist BCAA and estimates that every day BCAA drivers or their contract service providers rescue over 3,000 motorists from a variety of situations.

“Unfortunately, many times our work is not in the safety of a driveway or garage,” says Cousin. “Most people wouldn't think of standing on a road in traffic, but our role requires it every day and helping a motorist shouldn't lead to tragedy.”

“Like everyone, emergency vehicle drivers want to arrive home safe after a days work and we appreciate the motorists being aware of the need to slow down and move over when they see an emergency vehicle at roadside,” adds Cousin.

The law requires drivers to slow down to 70km/h on highways where the speed limit is 80 km/h or higher, and to 40 km/h where the limit is below 80 km/h, when approaching a stopped emergency vehicle that has its lights flashing. If there is another lane going in the same direction, drivers must also move into that lane, away from the emergency vehicle, if it is safe to do so.

The Provincial government brought this law into effect a year ago to protect emergency roadside personnel such as police, fire, ambulance and towing vehicle drivers.

Drivers who fail to comply will face a $173 fine ($148 if paid within 30 days) and three penalty points.

For more information about road safety visit BCAATSF.ca