When you’re driving and see lights flashing or hear the sirens blaring that’s a first responder rushing to a scene to help someone in need. But for those emergency personnel whether they are firefighters, paramedics or police officers it can be just as dangerous heading to the scene.
The Ministry of Transportation of Ontario (MTO) says the motorist must stop immediately and watch what other drivers are doing so an accident doesn’t happen. For more information from the MTO click here.
In southwestern Ontario alone, there have been dozens of police cruisers involved in crashes where other motorists were at fault for not moving over for emergency personnel or not giving them right of way.
The “Move Over” law has been in effect for over 10 years now and it’s that law that is protecting emergency responders from being injured or killed while at the scene of an accident or when they have a vehicle pulled over. It wasn’t until the death of OPP Sergeant Margaret Eve in 2000, who was killed doing a traffic stop on the 401, for legislation to pass that makes it illegal for a motorist to not move over for an emergency vehicle. The “Move Over” law came into effect in 2003 and according to the OPP, many people are still unaware of the law.
The OPP has made videos showing what motorists are required to do when they see an emergency vehicle on the shoulder of the road with their lights activated.
Since 1989, five OPP officers have been killed in roadside accidents and despite more than 10 years of education with the |Move Over” law, more than 11,000 tickets being issued by the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) and 250 additional reminder signs being placed by the Ministry of Transportation at the request of the Ontario Provincial Police Association (OPPA).
It doesn’t just stop with police though, firefighters and paramedics all face the same danger and consequences every time they answer your 911 call.
If you get caught not moving over for an emergency vehicle when it is safe to do so, the penalty is steep. Motorists can be fined up to $2,000 and 3 demerit points for their first offence.