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. The OPP are asking motorists to help keep olice
and other roadside emergency personnel safe over the 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.
In 2013, Chatham-Kent OPP laid 47 charges under Section 159. A decrease from 2012,
where 123 charges were laid. However, from January to June 2014, Chatham-Kent OPP
have already laid 33 charges under Section 159.
Provincially, 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.
"Move Over" Law