After ten years of education efforts, which includes more than 11,000 charges on record since the law came into effect, the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) is dismayed to see a slow but steady increase in the number of “Move Over” charges it has laid against drivers since 2010.
The OPP will be looking to Ontario drivers to help them reinforce the importance of Ontario’s Move Over law by setting a good example and observing this important law over the Civic Day Long Weekend.
In Ontario, Section 159 (2)(3) of the Highway Traffic Act (HTA) requires drivers to slow down and proceed with caution when passing an emergency vehicle parked on the side of the highway with its lights activated. If the highway has more than one lane, the law requires the driver to move over and leave one lane between their vehicle and the parked emergency vehicle if it can be done safely. Failure to do so can result in a fine of $400 to $2,000 plus three demerit points.
There were 1,502 Section 159 (2)(3) charges last year (2013) and the number has increased steadily since 2010 when the OPP issued 1,067 such charges against Ontario drivers. The increase suggests that many drivers may be unaware of this important law aimed at keeping police and other emergency responders safe on the roadside. Since 1989, five OPP officers have been killed as a result of being struck by a motor vehicle while doing their job on the roadside and many more have been injured. The OPP’s law enforcement and other safety partners have also lost colleagues in these situations.
“The OPP would like to see full compliance with this law indicating that drivers are fully on board with helping us keep officers and all other emergency responders safe on the roadside,” said Chief Superintendent Chuck Cox, the new Provincial Commander of the OPP Highway Safety Division. “With the higher volumes of traffic on long weekends, police and other emergency personnel respond to far more calls for service at the roadside, making it a particularly important time to move over a lane when able to do so safely,” added Cox.
Over the weekend, the OPP is also asking road users to help them keep roads safe and free of aggressive, distracted and impaired driving behaviours and by ensuring that all vehicle occupants are buckled up.