Just slowing down isn’t good enough.
South Island police, who have launched a new campaign, say motorists must learn the rules when approaching parked emergency vehicles — or else.
Last week, a joint police effort in Langford, Saanich and North Saanich resulted in a bumper crop of scofflaws getting nabbed. In two days alone, more than 260 violation tickets were issued, RCMP Cpl. Ryan Bacica said.
Of these 260 tickets, 44 per cent were issued to drivers for failing to slow down and move over when approaching a stopped emergency vehicle, which carries a $173 fine. Thirty-five per cent were speeding tickets.
When drivers were stopped and told they’d failed to move over for an emergency vehicle, most said they either didn’t know the law or thought it was sufficient just to slow down.
In June of 2009, new Motor Vehicle Act regulations took effect to protect emergency workers whose parked vehicles display flashing lights. These include police vehicles, fire trucks, ambulances and tow trucks.
When approaching parked emergency vehicles with flashing lights, drivers must slow to 70 km/h where the speed limit is 80 km/h or higher, and to 40 km/h where the limit is below 80 km/h. As well, if there is another outer lane in the same direction, a driver must move into that lane if safe to do so.
The ramped-up police campaign continues throughout this month.
Although emergency-vehicle laws came into effect four years ago, Bacica said they received less media attention than new laws regarding driving and the use of cellphones, which also came in at that time.
“The cellphone laws gained all the spotlight,” Bacica said.
“The reason [for this campaign] is there’s been too many close calls on the highway. I’ve been almost hit many times. It’s not fun.”
Fines and penalty points for selected B.C. traffic officences
|Driving without insurance||$598||0|
|Driving without due care||$368||6|
|Disobeying construction signs||$196-$253||3|
Failing to slow down/move over
near stopped emergency vehicle
|Disobeying red light||$167||2|
|Disobeying stop sign||$167||3|
|Emailing or texting while driving||$167||3|
|Failing to wear seatbelt||$167||0|
|No signalling on turn||$121||2|
|Following too closely||$109||3|
|Unsafe lane change||$109||2|
Source: Insurance Corporation of British Columbia
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