DISTRICT (Staff) – OPP officers are conducting a long weekend Move Over Campaign.
For the second consecutive year, the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) is reporting one of the highest numbers of charges laid in recent history against drivers who failed to slow down and/or move over for emergency vehicles.
In 2016, the OPP laid 2,443 Move Over (and related) charges, surpassing 2015 which also saw a significant increase over previous years. The number of charges has steadily increased since 2011 – a clear sign that many drivers still fail to consider the well-being of the roadside emergency workers the law aims to protect.
“To keep emergency responders safe, slow down and move over when emergency vehicles are stopped on the side of the road. Not only is it the right thing to do – it’s the law. Motorists need to do their part to ensure we all have a safe and happy Civic Day Long Weekend,” said Marie-France Lalonde, Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services.
“The safety of our emergency vehicles is critical, and it is the duty of all road users to ensure they are aware of their surroundings and drive responsibly. It’s the law to slow down and move over for emergency vehicle operators and staff, including tow trucks. Those who disobey this law can face a possible fine of up to $490,” said Steven Del Duca, Minister of Transportation.
“With the Move Over law now 15 years old, it has long shed its label as ‘Ontario’s little known law’, making driver ignorance a poor excuse for non-compliance. In light of all efforts on the part of the OPP, our policing partners and the media to raise awareness about this law every year, it is unacceptable to see drivers mark the last two years with some of the worst compliance on record,” said Deputy Commissioner Brad Blair, Provincial Commander of Traffic Safety and Operational Support.
In 2016 there were at least 11 incidents in which an OPP vehicle was stopped/parked on the roadside and was struck from behind while its emergency lights were activated.
This law carries a $400 to $2,000 fine, plus three demerit points upon conviction. Subsequent offences (within five years) carry a $1,000 to $4,000 fine, possible jail time up to six months and possible suspension of your driver’s licence for up to two years.